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'I get lambasted while Boris does not,' says under-fire Labour MP Simon Danczuk

Published 04/01/2016

Simon Danczuk has been suspended from the Labour Party
Simon Danczuk has been suspended from the Labour Party

Sex-text MP Simon Danczuk said today he was being "lambasted" for being a working class Boris Johnson as he vowed to carry on as Rochdale MP.

The embattled politician compared his treatment in the media to that of the London mayor, as he dismissed a small protest outside his constituency office as a "rag tag" bunch of political opponents.

The 49-year-old has blamed a "drink problem" for his tangled personal life, resulting in the sexually-explicit messages he sent to Sophena Houlihan when she was 17.

He has been suspended from the Labour Party while an investigation takes place into his conduct, for which he has apologised "unreservedly".

Today Mr Danczuk said: "I do think there is an interesting dichotomy between people like Boris Johnson, who make a lot of money as a member of Parliament and indeed as mayor of London, whilst writing for the Daily Telegraph and the right-wing media and who has a very colourful personal life.

"And yet a working class lad like me in Rochdale, who writes for some of the national newspapers and has a working class colourful personal life, I get lambasted, whilst Boris, playing it out with debutantes and all the rest of it in this upper-class world, doesn't get lambasted.

"And I think there is still very much an establishment, class issue going on in terms of, you know it's a sociological issue is this, about how some of this stuff plays out, I think it's quite interesting."

Mr Danczuk went out this morning meeting constituents and said he had a positive response.

Meanwhile at his office around 20 protesters gathered calling for him to resign. They included former local Liberal Democrat councillors, a former Labour councillor and a Labour Party member who said she had been "purged" by the party but did not know why.

They marched to the town hall, receiving a mixed reception, with one woman shouting "witch hunt" at them while others asked if there was a petition to sign in support of their protest.

Mr Danczuk said: "I don't believe for one second the people of Rochdale have any intention of listening to such a rag tag bunch of political opponents," the MP said.

And he claimed the protesters were political "malcontents" and did not represent the views of constituents he had met on the doorstep who gave him the "benefit of the doubt."

He added: "To a person they were saying that, you know, I've made one or two foolish mistakes but they believed I was doing a good job for Rochdale and that I should continue as their member of Parliament.

"In terms of feedback I'm humbled by the fact that, Rochdale people feel the way they do in terms of the work I do for Rochdale and they want me to continue to work for them.

"I've been very clear in terms of apologising for what I believe were the mistakes I've made and I think we should now move on from that and let me get on with doing what I think I'm reasonably good at doing, and what I think Rochdale people believe I'm reasonably good at doing, which is being the member of Parliament and representing the town as best I can, and helping sort out people's problems and representing them well in Parliament."

Mr Danczuk's comments came after his former partner, Claire Hamilton, said his admission of sending texts to Miss Houlihan led her to end their relationship shortly after Christmas.

She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "Simon hasn't got a stop button when he starts to drink. He will just keep consuming. If it's there, he'll drink it.

"It was getting harder and harder to be in the relationship, to the point that when he did confess to texting a teenage girl, it was definitely over. That was the straw that broke the camel's back and I knew there was no going back to him."

Miss Houlihan, who is now 18, said Mr Danczuk sent her numerous messages, including one asking if she wanted a "spanking", after she contacted him about a job.

The father-of-five'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 he would "always co-operate" if further allegations made by his first wife, Sonia Rossington, were investigated by police.

He described the last few months as "quite intense at times" and blamed some of his problems as a result of depression brought on by his work campaigning against child sexual abuse whilst exposing the past of the town's former MP Sir Cyril Smith.

But he was "quietly confident" a Labour Party internal investigation will conclude his conduct does not warrant expulsion from the party.

The investigation is due to conclude by the middle of this month.

Mr Danczuk denied wanting to have sex with Miss Houlihan.

The MP told BBC News: "Certainly not, no, that's been made clear time and time again.

"This was an error of judgment for which I have apologised."

Ms Houlihan confirmed the MP's assertion that she had sent him an apology but complained that he was exploiting the situation and questioned his explanations.

In a message posted on Twitter, she said: " Yes I sent a sorry message to Simon as I felt bad for him and his career.

"But now I just realise all he is bothered about is gaining more publicity and fame. He is still continuing to downplay the situation."

She said he had asked her to meet him more than once, during the day and at night.

"I hardly think he was drunk while he was in his office messaging me? I doubt he was drunk while writing his book in Spain? Excuses excuses excuses," she added.

"I know I've done nothing wrong! I simply gave my side of things and that's how the cookie crumbles."

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