Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I'm an Old Fool, Says MP Alleged to Have Sent Lewd Texts

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I'm an Old Fool, Says MP Alleged to Have Sent Lewd Texts

Article excerpt

Byline: Sam Lister Reporter

MP Simon Danczuk has apologised "unreservedly" for "inappropriate" behaviour after being suspended from the Labour Party amid claims he sent sexually explicit messages to a teenage girl.

An investigation is being launched by the party's ruling body after claims that the backbencher bombarded Sophena Houlihan with lewd texts when she was 17.

Mr Danczuk, 49, said the reports in The Sun were "not entirely accurate" but issued an apology and admitted "there's no fool like an old fool".

The teenager, who is now 18, said the Rochdale MP sent her numerous messages, including one asking if she wanted a "spanking" after she contacted him about a job.

She told the newspaper: "When I first got in touch I never expected the messages to get so graphic. At the time I played along with it, but now I feel like he duped me.

"I was keen for a career in politics and he is a very high-profile MP and I was in awe of him." Mr Danczuk and the teenager exchanged messages for nearly a month before he asked how old she was, according to the newspaper.

The MP's personal life has repeatedly made the headlines over the past year following the collapse of his marriage to wife Karen, who was dubbed the selfie queen after posting numerous photographs of herself in low-cut tops.

Mr Danczuk said his work to expose child sex abuse had left him depressed and this was a factor the split. He revealed he was receiving psychiatric treatment and would be stepping back from his campaigning.

He embarked on a very public relationship with a Labour councillor, Claire Hamilton, who tweeted after Christmas that she had "dumped" Mr Danczuk.

He said the episode with Miss Houlihan came when he was at an "extremely low point in my life".

He tweeted: "My behaviour was inappropriate and I apologise unreservedly to everyone I've let down. I was stupid and there's no fool like an old fool. …

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