MP Simon Danczuk to face demonstration outside office and calls to resign


Under-pressure MP Simon Danczuk is today facing a demonstration outside his constituency office, at which opponents are expected to call for him to resign from Parliament over lewd texts he sent to a teenage girl.

The 49-year-old Rochdale MP has blamed a "drink problem" for 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".

Critics planning to protest outside Mr Danczuk's office in Rochdale said that drink should not be allowed to excuse his behaviour.

One of the protest's organisers, former Liberal Democrat member of Rochdale Council Liz Thirsk, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are going to go there to draw attention to the fact that this is where he is, and we are going to ask for him - if he's there - to come out and tell us why he won't resign."

Responding to Mr Danczuk's explanation that he sent the texts when drunk, Ms Thirsk asked: "If he was a school teacher would that be allowed, or if he was a social worker? Would the fact that I was drunk be an excuse?If you go up in court accused of a crime, would the fact that you were drunk excuse you? That can't be acceptable."

Meanwhile, the MP's former partner Claire Hamilton said that his admission to having sent texts to Miss Houlihan led her to end their relationship shortly after Christmas.

Ms Hamilton told Today: "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.

"He can be a very charming, funny, lovely person, and then sometimes when he's had a drink and he was stressed he would be very nasty and grumpy and someone you wouldn't want to be around.

"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.

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