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'I prefer young women': Why this MP's colourful personal life is making headlines

Labour’s Simon Danczuk has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks.

THE BRITISH MEDIA focus on politicians’ personal lives far more than we’re used to in Ireland and in recent months there’s been a spate of stories about one particular elected representative.

Simon Danczuk, a Labour MP for Rochdale in northern England, has had his personal life repeatedly in the headlines following the collapse of his second marriage last summer.

Simon Danczuk suspened PA WIRE PA WIRE

But now he is facing an accusation of rape which dates back to 2006 and which Lancashire Police confirmed last night they are investigating. Danczuk, 49, has denied the claim, describing it as “malicious, untrue and extremely upsetting”.

However, in an appearance on Newsnight last night the MP primarily faced questions about lewd texts he sent to a teenage girl and his preference for younger women.

Who is Simon Danczuk? 

Danczuk was first elected to parliament in 2010. During that election campaign, he was the Labour candidate who introduced then-prime minister Gordon Brown to Rochdale pensioner Gillian Duffy.

Brown was later caught on-mic referring to Duffy as a “bigoted woman”. This caused a huge controversy at the time and Labour ultimately lost the election with Brown resigning as PM.

Sky News / YouTube

In his first year in parliament Danczuk made a criminal complaint about then-energy minister Chris Huhne after it emerged the Liberal Democrat MP was alleged to have asked his wife to take penalty points for speeding. The resulting furore saw Huhne forced from office and later jailed.

In 2014, Danczuk came to prominence when he co-wrote a book exposing the child abuse carried out by Cyril Smith, a former Liberal MP, who was outed as a notorious paedophile following his death in 2010.

cyril smith

Danczuk has since campaigned prominently on the issue of historical allegations of child sex abuse that have been made against senior Westminster politicians.

But what’s so colourful about his private life? 

Until last June, Danczuk was married to Karen Danczuk (née Burke) a Labour councillor whose fondness for taking selfies made tabloid headlines and led to her being nicknamed the ‘selfie queen’.

But their split last June was, according to the MP, due to the strain of his campaigning work on child abuse that led to him drinking heavily and suffering from depression.

Danczuk said in interviews that he’d had suicidal thoughts and was now seeking help. His estranged wife tweeted her support at the time:

In September, Danczuk was reported to be seeing another Labour councillor, 31-year-old Claire Hamilton, whom he dated for around three months.

But the pair split over Christmas with Hamilton announcing on Twitter that she’d “dumped Danczuk” and that “he had it coming”.

The reason for this was The Sun’s frontpage story last month which said that Danczuk had sent “vile sex messages” to a 17-year-old girl, Sophena Houlihan, who had asked him for a job.


Danczuk took to Twitter to admit that his behaviour had been stupid but he was suspended from Labour pending an investigation.

What else did he have to say? 

Danczuk did an interview with The Sun on Sunday where he admitted  he could not resist younger women, describing them as his “achilles heel”. He said the texts to Houlihan had been sent when he was holidaying alone in Spain and drinking as many as three bottles of wine a night.

In his Newsnight interview last night, it was put to him that liking younger women “sounds a bit icky”. He responded:

I think it probably does. But I am just making the point, I mean, I can’t deny that I prefer young women. Different people have different preferences.

BBC Newsnight / YouTube

He pointed out that his first wife was 10 years younger than him; his second wife, Karen Danczuk, was 17 years younger than him; and his last girlfriend, Claire Hamilton, was 17 years younger than him.

“I accept I’ve made a mistake and I’ve apologised for that,” he added, acknowledging that a 17-year-old is too young for a 49-year-old man.

But that’s not all.

That first wife that Danczuk referred to is Sonia Rossington. She gave an interview to the Mail on Sunday at the weekend in which she made a series of allegations about what Danczuk did when they were married.

Danczuk, who divorced from Rossington after eight years of marriage in 2010, described the allegations as untrue and “of a criminal nature”. He added:

She has chosen not to take them to police but to sell them to a national newspaper. I can no longer allow her to continue to spread hurtful allegations that are totally unfounded and malicious. And that is why I have instructed solicitors to act on the content of the interview.

On the same day, Hamilton gave an interview to the Sunday Mirror claiming that Danczuk “cried like a baby” when she dumped him after confronting him over the sex texts.

What’s happening now? 

As well as facing an allegation of rape, which he strongly denies, Danczuk is being investigated by Labour’s national executive committee regarding his conduct over the texts sent to Houlihan.

He could be expelled from the party but he insists he is “quietly confident” that he will be allowed to remain. However, it’s worth nothing that Danczuk is a fierce critic of his leader Jeremy Corbyn. He has been vocal in media interviews and newspaper articles about his opposition to the left-wing politician.

Anything else we should know? 

Danczuk has admitted being paid over €1,000 by a photo agency for tip offs about opportunities to take photos of him that could then be sold to the media.

He told Newsnight he sees nothing wrong with this.

Read: Labour MP suspended after telling 17-year-old he wanted to spank her

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