Internet sex scandal MP to quit

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A Conservative MP who quit as a minister over an internet sex scandal is to stand down from Parliament, claiming the media spotlight has become “intolerable”.

Brooks Newmark, who served as minister for civil society and founded the Women2Win campaign group, had exchanged suggestive pictures over the internet with a reporter posing as a young Tory PR woman.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the American-born MP for Braintree said he would quit at the general election next May.

He wrote: “The continued media intrusion into past episodes in my personal life is placing an intolerable burden on my family. I have therefore decided to stand down at the general election. I will continue to serve my constituents to the best of my abilities until that time.

” I again appeal to the media to respect my family’s privacy and to give me a chance to try to heal the hurt I have caused them.

“I have no one to blame but myself and take full responsibility for my own actions.

“I will remain a loyal supporter of the Government and would like to thank the many friends and colleagues for the support and sympathy they have shown me and my family.”

Mr Newmark was caught in a Sunday Mirror sting involving a “honey trap” operation that used a fictitious party activist called “Sophie Wittam” to flirt with MPs via social media.

The 56-year-old married father of five tendered his resignation after learning that the newspaper was about to publish details of their exchanges.

His disgrace came just hours after Mark Reckless announced he was defecting from the Tories to Ukip, landing a double blow on David Cameron on the eve of the Conservative party conference.

But the methods used in the investigation have since been criticised and former judge Sir Alan Moses, the chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), said the matter was of “urgent public concern”.

The Sunday Mirror has insisted the story was in the public interest; however, it has apologised to a woman whose photo was used as part of the operation without her knowledge.

Swedish model Malin Sahlen said she was “shocked” that her picture had been used to attract MPs.

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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