Estranged wife of UK politician standing for his seat in election
LONDON : The estranged wife of a British politician - who bombarded two women with sexual messages - has been selected to stand for his seat in next month's general election, and she launched an appeal on Wednesday to female victims of abuse.
Mrs Kate Griffiths said she had declined to accept an offer of political support from her husband Mr Andrew Griffiths after she successfully stood to replace him in the central England seat of Burton for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative party.
Mr Griffiths, a former Minister for Small Business, quit the government in July last year after reports he sent more than 2,000 explicit messages to two constituents.
He was cleared of wrongdoing by a parliamentary watchdog this year which found no evidence he sent the messages while engaged in parliamentary activities, but he decided to stand down.
Mrs Kate Griffiths said the difficulties of the last 18 months had taught her resilience.
"My recent personal experiences have given me a much better understanding of domestic abuse issues that can affect women and men from all backgrounds," she said in a statement.
"I will be a strong voice for abuse survivors."
Nearly two million people - mostly women - suffer domestic abuse each year in Britain, the government has estimated.
Mrs Griffiths said she was in the process of finalising her divorce.
"I want to make it clear that I have not sought, nor do I accept Andrew's offer of political support," she said.
Britain's Dec 12 election comes at a time of severe divisions in Britain over Brexit, and with women MPs saying they are facing unprecedented levels of abuse. - REUTERS