29 September 2014 - MP resigns after sexting scandal
Brooks Newmark: I have been a complete fool, says Conservative ex-minister
Staff (BBC News)
The Conservative MP who stepped down as minister for civil society over a newspaper story about his private life has said he has been "a complete fool".
Brooks Newmark told the BBC: "I have no-one to blame but myself. I have hurt those I care about most."
The MP for Braintree in Essex is reported to have sent an explicit image of himself to an undercover reporter from the Sunday Mirror.
In a resignation statement, he asked for his privacy to be respected.
In his comments to BBC political correspondent Chris Mason, Mr Newmark added: "I am so, so sorry. But I just need time with my family".
The Sunday Mirror said its reporter had been posing as a young female activist.
Cahal Milmo (The Chicago Tribune)
As a middle-aged minister keeping long hours in the social maelstrom of Westminster, Brooks Newmark was clearly flattered to receive the attention of a striking blonde public relations worker calling herself Sophie Wittams.
After a series of tweets from the self-styled “twentysomething Tory PR girl” linking to his own online musings, the 56-year-old MP followed her on Twitter and sent a private message expressing his satisfaction that “you appreciate my humour”.
Unbeknownst to the Minister for Civil Society, he was in reality swapping increasingly flirtatious banter with a male freelance journalist looking for a scoop about MPs seeking assignations via social networks. The true nature of the four-month subterfuge became painfully clear to the millionaire married father-of-five on Saturday when the Sunday Mirror called.
Alexandra Topping (The Guardian)
The Sunday Mirror was facing accusations of entrapment on Sunday night over a sting on the minister for civil society, Brooks Newmark, after it emerged he was one of several MPs contacted by a male freelance reporter posing as a young female Conservative supporter on social media.
Newmark resigned on Saturday, on the eve of the Conservative party conference, before the publication of a story that revealed he had exchanged explicit images with the undercover reporter, who was purporting to be an attractive “twentysomething Tory PR girl”.
The reporter, who is not on the staff of the Sunday Mirror, created a fictional account of “Sophie Wittams” on Twitter, which has since been deleted, and appears to have contacted at least six Conservative MPs including the latest Ukip defector, Mark Reckless.
Jack Sommers (The Huffington Post)
Mr Newmark, 57, resigned on Saturday evening, the day before the Tory party conference in Birmingham, after learning what had happened and what was about to be published.
But on Sunday, questions surfaced about whose pictures the now-deleted Wittams Twitter account had used to encourage him to sext the image of himself.
It used an image was of a 22-year-old Swedish woman, who set her Instagram account to private after the Sunday Mirror story was published, Buzzfeed reported.
The fake Sunday Mirror account also tweeted a "sun bathing selfie" that was originally tweeted by a woman from Boston, Lincolnshire in July.
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"29 September 2014 - MP resigns after sexting scandal", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), septembre 2014. Consulté le 29/11/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2014/29-september-2014-mp-resigns-after-sexting-scandal