UK Politics

Brooks Newmark: I have been a complete fool, says Conservative ex-minister

Brooks Newmark Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Newmark said he was sorry after being taken in by a reporter posing as a female Tory supporter

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.

'Loyal supporter'

Mr Newmark's announcement on Saturday came on the eve of the Conservative party conference and hours after fellow Tory MP Mark Reckless said he was quitting the party to join UKIP.

In his resignation statement, the 56-year-old said: "I have decided to resign as minister for civil society having been notified of a story to be published in a Sunday newspaper.

"I would like to appeal for the privacy of my family to be respected at this time.

"I remain a loyal supporter of this government as its long-term economic plan continues to deliver for the British people."

Mr Newmark, who has been the MP for Braintree since 2005 and became minister for civil society in July, is married and has five children.

Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East, has been appointed as Mr Newmark's replacement at the Cabinet Office.

Speaking on Sky News, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Mr Newmark had "done the right thing" in resigning from ministerial office.

Asked whether he thought Mr Newmark had been entrapped, Mr Fallon said he was unable to comment as he "hadn't seen the details".

Another MP, Nadine Dorries, told Sky his resignation was only a "distraction" to the start of the Conservative Party conference.

She said Mr Newmark had been "stupid... he's let himself down and his family down, but I don't think it's that big a deal".

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