There's been much chaos and drama this week in Westminster but a hundred miles away from the capital, a far more serious scandal has been playing out in a Derby court. For yesterday, former Conservative minister Andrew Griffiths was found to have raped and physically abused his wife and successor as MP for Burton-upon-Trent, Kate Griffiths. A family court judge concluded the former MP pressurised his now-divorced wife into engaging in sexual activity by using 'coercive and controlling behaviour.'
The news comes three years after Griffiths had the whip withdrawn and was forced to resign as a minister after sending up to 2,000 sexually explicit texts in a three-week period to two of his female constituents. He had previously been accused of inappropriate touching and bullying of a Conservative borough councillor and the bullying of the leader of another council as well as his former campaign manager. A former chief of staff to Theresa May – who restored the whip to Griffiths hours before her December 2018 confidence vote – he had nevertheless been cleared of wrongdoing by the parliamentary standards watchdog, which said it found no evidence.
The judge's conclusions appear to almost certainly rules out any hopes Griffiths was nurturing of a comeback. For the former small business minister clearly had aspirations to run one of his own, as ten months after he unceremoniously quit Parliament he set up his own lobbying company named, ironically enough, Phoenix Intelligence Limited. The first accounts are yet to be published but Steerpike suspects that, in light of yesterday's verdict, clients won't exactly be rushing to sign up.