General election 2019: Kate Griffiths selected as Burton Tory candidate

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Kate Griffiths was selected to represent Burton and Uttoxeter on Thursday

The estranged wife of a former Tory MP, who sent thousands of sexual messages to two female constituents, has been selected as the candidate for his seat.

Andrew Griffiths, 49, announced he was standing down from frontline politics, would not seek his party’s nomination, and was backing Kate Griffiths.

She was selected as the Tory candidate for Burton and Uttoxeter on Thursday.

Mrs Griffiths said she has not sought, and does not accept, his offer of political support.

In a statement to be issued later, part of which has been given to the BBC, Mrs Griffiths is expected to make clear her candidacy is not the result of coordination with her husband, whom she is divorcing.

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Andrew Griffiths said he “cared passionately” about the Tory party and the constituency

Mr Griffiths resigned as small business minister in July after a newspaper reported he sent the women more than 2,000 messages in 21 days, weeks after the birth of his first child.

He was cleared of wrongdoing by the parliamentary standards watchdog, which said it found no evidence he sent the messages while engaged in parliamentary activities.

A Conservative party investigation found he may have breached the Conservatives’ code of conduct but said “given his state of mental health both now and at the time” further action would be inappropriate.

Announcing his decision not to stand, Mr Griffiths, who became the MP in May 2010, said he still “cared passionately” about the constituency.

“I’m invested in this place, I have put my whole life into it and I also love the Conservative party,” he said; adding that he put his backing behind Mrs Griffiths.

Other candidates confirmed to be standing for the seat so far are:

The BBC news page for the constituency will be updated with full 2019 candidate information after the close of nominations later this month.

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