Suspended Tory MP seeks early resolution to explicit texts inquiry

Guardian Web |

An MP suspended from the Conservatives after it emerged he sent huge numbers of sexually explicit text message to two much younger women has urged the party to resolve the case as soon as possible so he can give his side of the story.

Andrew Griffiths, the MP for Burton, resigned as minister for small business in July after saying he was “deeply ashamed” for sending 2,000 messages to the constituents over a three-week period, and was seeking professional help.

He was suspended from the Conservative party pending an investigation into his conduct but remains an MP.

In his first statement since the news broke, Griffiths told his local paper, the Burton Mail, that he wanted the process to be completed as soon as possible.

“Since referring myself to the disciplinary panel I have been advised by the party not to say anything publicly until the conclusion of its inquiry,” he said. “I will be making a full and frank statement, which will fully explain my absence from parliament.

“In the meantime, I am attending votes in parliament and can assure constituents that all casework and problems are being promptly dealt with in full. I will provide a further update on the situation as soon as I can, and am pressing the party for a speedy resolution.”

In the messages to a 28-year-old bar worker and her friend, first reported by the Sunday Mirror, the 47-year-old MP – whose wife gave birth to their first child in April – referred to himself as “Daddy”, suggested renting a flat so they could meet for sex, and asked them to send him explicit photos and videos.

It subsequently emerged that Griffiths, Theresa May’s former chief of staff, had been accused of bullying a council leader for several years before she took office.

The complaints were understood to include claims that he sent abusive text messages to Richard Grosvenor, the leader of the Tory-run East Staffordshire borough council.

At a meeting of Griffiths’ local party in August, which he did not attend, members were expected to decide whether his position as MP was tenable. However, no decision was made.

Since then, the Burton Mail said, the Burton party had begun the process of selecting who will represent them in the next election – even though this is not scheduled to happen before 2022. Griffiths has told officials he wants to stand again, but no decision has been taken.

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