The Tory MP Brooks Newmark has quit the government – after having been tricked into sending “inappropriate messages” on WhatsApp to a journalist posing as a 20-year-old Tory activist. As the Sunday Mirror puts it:-
As part of a series of exchanges, he sent a graphic picture exposing himself while wearing a pair of paisley pyjamas
No laws were broken and the paisley pyjamas at least show that some Tory traditions are being upheld. He’s not standing down as an MP – as we know, sending such pictures need not end a political career (Labour’s Chris Bryant says this increased his majority). But it doesn’t help a ministerial career: Newmark is out as civil society minister. He becomes he second Tory to quit in a day.
Newmark, a father of four, has always struck me as one of the nicer guys in politics – affable as well as sharp. And digitally-savvy. He is co-founder of Women 2 Win, a group which supports aspiring MPs with training and other material. Only recently he was sending Tweets with the hashtag #GirlsMatter and lamenting the lack of women MPs.
In his capacity as a Women 2 Win advocate he met to someone he thought was a Tory PR girl called Sophie interested in a seat. In fact it was a freelance journalist (who went on to flog the story to the Sunday Mirror) interested in a scalp. After a while, he suggested a picture swap…
“By the way I have no idea what you look like so post a pic to me on Whatsapp so I know what you look like when I meet you.”
Next, the Sunday Mirror says,
Newmark initiated a private message conversation online and, during flirtatious chats and photo exchanges, sent a graphic snap exposing himself while wearing a pair of [dark blue and red] paisley pyjamas.