The wife of a former Government minister forced to resign for sexting two female constituents has confirmed divorce proceedings are underway in a statement this afternoon.
Kate Griffiths, who has been married to Andrew Griffiths since 2013, was chosen as the Conservative Party candidate for the seat of Burton, which gained a 10,000 Tory majority in the 2017 general election, in a shock move Tuesday night.
At 7pm on Tuesday Griffiths announced that he was stepping down from frontline politics and would not seek re-election, instead backing his wife in the East Staffordshire Tory safe seat and saying she would make a “remarkable” MP.
But in a statement today, she said: “The last 18 months have been the most difficult of my life but through my experiences I have found a strength and resilience which I didn’t know I had.
“I have become a single mother and have had to fight to protect my family.
“I left Andrew on the day that he told me about the behaviour that was published in the press. Our relationship ended on that day and the divorce is being finalised.
“I want to make it clear that I have not sought, nor do I accept Andrew’s offer of political support.”
Earlier this week a majority of Conservative members at the East Staffordshire Conservative Association refused to back Andrew Griffiths, who previously held the role of Theresa May’s Chief of Staff while Prime Minister, opening the position to other candidates.
Kate Griffiths was then selected by voting members.
The Guardian reported that they had seen Griffiths candidacy CV which sets out a range of priorities spanning Brexit, crime and the NHS, among local issues.
The statement read: “I am a hardworking, dedicated, Burton-born lifelong Conservative and I want to be able to make a difference to people’s lives. In this social media age of online abuse towards female MPs I think it’s more important than ever that we have women in parliament to create a balance that better represents the makeup of our country.”
Griffiths then wrote about the effect the sexting scandal of her husband had on her as a wife.
She explained: “My recent personal experiences have given me a much greater understanding of domestic abuse issues that can affect women (and indeed men) from all walks of life and this would be an area of particular political interest to me.
“In the past 18 months I have found strength and resilience which I didn’t know I had, borne out of self-respect, dignity and the fierce desire to protect my daughter.
“Because of my own personal experience I have been following the progress of the domestic abuse bill with interest and hope passionately that legislation to protect survivors will be brought in by the new parliament.”
Griffiths had the Conservative whip removed in July 2018 after he was exposed of sending sexually explicit messages to two women, both constituents in Burton. However the Conservative whip was reinstated in December last year – just five months after it had initially been removed.
Earlier this year Griffiths was cleared of wrongdoing by the Parliamentary Standards watchdog, saying it had found no evidence that the disgraced MP sent the messages while engaged in parliamentary activities or that he had breached the Commons code of conduct.
Other candidates for the Burton seat include Louise Walker for Labour, Adam Wain for the Liberal Democrats, Kate Copeland for the Green Party and Dale Prime for the Brexit Party – but he may stand aside after party leader Nigel Farage said it would not stand in Tory seats.