Burton MP Andrew Griffiths Plans To Stand Again For Election

25 September 2018, 08:28 | Updated: 25 September 2018, 08:32

Andrew Griffiths - Burton MP

Tory MP Andrew Griffiths says he plans to stand again in the Burton and Uttoxeter constituency.

Mr Griffiths resigned as small business minister in July after he was unmasked for sending thousands of sexually aggressive text messages to constituents.

But he has not stepped down as an MP despite protests and an ongoing investigation, which includes complaints of bullying from a former Tory councillor, Deneice Florence-Jukes, pre-dating the sexting scandal.

The suspended MP has formally notified his local party branch of his intention to stand again for the seat.

Uttoxeter councillor David Brookes said he would wait to see the outcome of the conduct investigation.

"He is entitled to want to stand," he said. "It's unfair to judge anybody until we know the outcome of the report."

Asked if he would back Mr Griffiths if he were to stand again, Mr Brookes said he was "prepared to give him a fair hearing".

"I understand he has not actually been in a very good place and the expose compounded the problems that he had," he added. "That will come out as time progresses."

Ms Florence-Jukes, a former Tory borough councillor, now independent, who filed the formal complaint against Mr Griffiths over alleged groping, posted her reaction to the news on Facebook.

She said: "Morally corrupt, no sense of integrity, self serving, misogynistic, completely devoid of any sense of commitment to the people of Burton and Uttoxeter.

"What party would be willing to accept him back with open arms to keep the seat I wonder?"

Mr Griffiths is said to have bombarded 28-year-old barmaid Imogen Treharne and her friend with messages in which he referred to himself as "Daddy".

The married father, who once worked as Theresa May's chief of staff, said he was "deeply ashamed" and was seeking "professional help to ensure it never happens again".

Elected in 2010, Mr Griffiths was appointed to the small business role in January, having been a Government whip from July 2016.

Among his activities as a minister, this year he led the Government's response to findings of the Hampton-Alexander Review into gender equality at the top of business.

He also launched a campaign to encourage more fathers to take paternity leave and became a father when his wife gave birth to a baby girl.