Thursday 12 December 2019

British MP Simon Danczuk denies 'malicious' historical rape accusation

Claire Hamilton and Labour MP Simon Danczuk
Claire Hamilton and Labour MP Simon Danczuk

Simon Danczuk has described an accusation against him of historical rape as "malicious, untrue and extremely upsetting".

The embattled Labour MP said he is confident he can clear his name, insisting he will co-operate with the police investigation.

The claim comes as the 49-year-old faces criticism for sending lewd texts to Sophena Houlihan when she was 17.

Mr Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, has been suspended from the Labour Party while an investigation takes place into his conduct regarding the sexually explicit messages, which he has apologised "unreservedly" for.

Commenting on the rape allegation, Mr Danczuk said: "These claims are malicious, untrue and extremely upsetting.

"The police have not been in touch with me but I will co-operate fully with any inquiries and am confident my name will be promptly cleared."

The father of five's personal life has repeatedly made the headlines over the past year following the collapse of his marriage to his second wife Karen.

His ex-girlfriend Claire Hamilton said she broke up with the MP shortly after Christmas after he admitted sending texts to Miss Houlihan.

Around 20 protesters gathered on Monday at his constituency office calling for him to resign following revelations he had sent saucy messages to the teenager.

The MP told ITV's Good Morning Britain he had displayed "inappropriate behaviour and I have apologised unreservedly for it", but said the texts should be seen "in context".

He said: "I was having an online friendship with somebody over social media for several months and just, as you have pointed (out), at a low point in my life in September, on just two occasions I responded to some messages that were sent to me.

"I shouldn't have responded to those messages and that's why I apologised.

"So I do regret that, there is no doubt about it, but I think we can put it behind us."

Mr Danczuk has blamed a "drink problem" for his tangled personal life and insisted the people of Rochdale want him to continue to be their MP.

He said: "What the public want are ordinary people to be Members of Parliament and that is exactly what I am - I am an ordinary guy that happens to do politics.

"And it is fair to say, there is no denying it, that I have a relatively colourful personal life. But I am not the only politician that has such a life - you could say that Boris Johnson has a similar life. I shouldn't be condemned for that necessarily; I don't think the people of Rochdale condemn me for that. They judge me on my performance."

He admitted his credibility as a campaigner against child sexual exploitation has been "dented", but said the lewd texts he sent are a "far cry" from the abuse he has campaigned against.

He added: "The Labour Party is carrying out an investigation into these allegations, quite rightly and understandably, and I am quietly confident that they will conclude that I should remain a member of the Labour Party."

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "We can confirm that we have received a report of a historic rape dating back to 2006.

"We are in the very early stages of an investigation and inquiries are ongoing. The complaint relates to a 49-year-old man."

Meanwhile Mr Danczuk has admitted being paid to tip off a photo agency about opportunities to take photographs of him that could be sold to the media, receiving at least £1,115 from one.

Responding to Mr Danczuk's comments, Mr Johnson told LBC radio: "I really don't know what he is talking about. All I can say is I have no desire whatever to intervene or superimpose my own judgment on the judgments that Jeremy Corbyn has to make.

"I think the best thing we can do with the Labour Party at the moment is leave them to their own delectable disputations about whatever Mr Danczuk is talking about."

PA Media

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