'Sexting' MP Andrew Griffiths reveals he was 'on verge of suicide'
Andrew Griffiths resigned from the government and referred himself for disciplinary action in July.
It came amid a newspaper exposé of the sexual messages he sent to two constituents; 28-year-old barmaid Imogen Treharne and her friend.
One of the messages read: “Daddy has been up making speeches and running the country. But what he really wants to be doing is ******* naughty girls.”
A Conservative panel is this week expected to reach a verdict on whether the 48-year-old can remain in the party.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the scandal, the married father of one has outlined decades of mental health battles that led to his “breakdown” and saw him spend a month in hospital.
Writing in The Sunday Times, the former minister for small business described how he was abused as a child by an older boy of about 15.
Mr Griffiths also detailed the impact of the death of his father, when he was 25, following years of ill health. Four years later, his mother died when he was working abroad.
He admitted he and his wife’s pain at being unable to conceive then “brought on what I now admit was depression”, before the pair had “our little miracle Alice” in April this year.
Despite this, Mr Griffiths revealed how “at the same time, my mind was at breaking point” and it was not long before “the moment the flames of anxiety that led to my breakdown were lit”.
He wrote: “I was exactly the age my father was when I was born. The prospect of my daughter going through what I went through filled me with terror. My own health and mortality gripped my thinking.”
Mr Griffiths was then confronted by his brother being diagnosed with cancer.
“Two days later, my mind in turmoil, I sent the first text that led to my downfall,” he added.
The MP described how the messages he sent the women were “a sprinkler system; a coping mechanism of a virtual and imaginary world”.
He explained: “My disturbed mind blocking out my worries and fears by filling every spare moment.
“The more chaotic my collapse became, the more compulsive my messaging.”
Mr Griffiths told the newspaper that the Tories and parliament need to do more to support the mental health of MPs, after his own problems led him to be “admitted to hospital on the verge of suicide”.
“The government has a suicide minister but I am not sure it knew how to handle a suicidal minister. That needs to change,” he said.
He also spoke of a determination to return to his political career.
“Firstly for my daughter, because I can’t leave her with this legacy,” he said. “And secondly because if I give up now and walk away then the abuse wins.”
:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK.
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