General election 2019: Kate Griffiths selected as Burton Tory candidate

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Media captionKate Griffiths was selected as the Tory candidate for Burton

The estranged wife of a former Tory MP, who sent thousands of sexual messages to two women, has been selected as the candidate for his seat.

Andrew Griffiths, 49, who is standing down from frontline politics, has said he is backing his wife Kate.

She was selected as the Tory candidate for Burton on Thursday.

However, Mrs Griffiths said she was divorcing her husband, and had not sought, and does not accept, his offer of political support.

Mr Griffiths resigned as small business minister in July after a newspaper reported he sent the women more than 2,000 messages in 21 days, weeks after the birth of his first child.

He was cleared of wrongdoing by the parliamentary standards watchdog, which said it found no evidence he sent the messages while engaged in parliamentary activities.

A Conservative party investigation found he may have breached the Conservatives’ code of conduct but said “given his state of mental health both now and at the time” further action would be inappropriate.

In a statement, Mrs Griffiths said the last 18 months had been the “most difficult” of her life but she had found a “strength and resilience I didn’t know I had”.

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Andrew Griffiths said he “cared passionately” about the Tory party and the constituency

Mrs Griffiths said she left Mr Griffiths “on the day that he told me about the behaviour that was published in the press” and their divorce is being finalised.

“I am not able to say more about this now as legal proceedings are ongoing but I want to make it clear that I have not sought, nor do I accept Andrew’s offer of political support,” she said.

She said, if elected, she wanted to be an advocate for abuse survivors.

Announcing his decision not to stand, Mr Griffiths, who became the MP in May 2010, said he still “cared passionately” about the constituency.

“I’m invested in this place, I have put my whole life into it and I also love the Conservative party,” he said.

Other candidates confirmed to be standing for the seat so far are:

The BBC news page for the constituency will be updated with full 2019 candidate information after the close of nominations later this month.

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