'My wife isn't best pleased' says John. Really?
Anybody who has only seen the first edition of the Evening Mail, which clearly based the story on a chat with Emily Cox, would be well advised to invest in a copy of the final edition, which develops the story and carries a brief interview with John's wife, who definitely seems to be less than pleased. Apparently, his wife is of the view that the poor love was entrapped by Cllr Cox's feminine wiles,
'I think she took advantage of him... she is now in a position where she can make our life very difficult for us.'I think John may have been in a position that has made his life difficult - so don't put all the blame on her.
But there's more - poor Emily is not the only little transgression in John's marital past - there have been 25 others. TWENTY-FIVE? In 18 years (apparently he started wandering four or five years into their 23-year marriage)? I know power is supposed to be the ultimate aphrodisiac, but this is approaching Clintonian levels - he was only elected a month ago and is already embroiled in a sex scandal - not that this is the first 'accident', apparently, despite him being warned to 'take the relevant precautions' by his wife. (In the name of balance, I should add that John describes his wife's story as 'nonsense'.)
No wonder the Evening Mail describe him as a 'tireless bundle of energy' and his romancing his wife as a 'fairytale' - it certainly sounds Grimm.
I tend not to moralise over personal issues like this and don't consider that they impact hugely on what someone does in their public life, although I am concerned that Emily is an employee of John's - she also became a councillor whilst she was having an affair with him and whilst he was leader of the Liberal Democrats in Birmingham. I'm not aware of any 'family values' preaching on his part which might raise charges of hypocrisy, nor does he particularly push his family to the front in campaigns. The Mail editorial notes that many gay MPs no longer feel the need to conceal their sexuality - although it isn't appropriate to confuse sexual orientation and activity, as we have choice over our actions, not our orientation. He isn't the first - and won't be the last - politician to have spent a while 'discussing Uganda'. Our politicans are only human and will have the same failings as other mortals, although failing twenty-six times looks a little more like carelessness.
He's lucky that it was kept secret during the campaign - in a close election, something like this could have made the difference. However, four years is a long time in politics and I doubt the electors of Yardley will give it much consideration when the time comes - providing no more skeletons come leaping out of closets.
Of course, don't get the idea that John is the only councillor putting his cross in the wrong ballot box - I know of another couple of candidates who should be looking over their shoulders for a visit from the Mail hacks. (Any guesses posted will be deleted, so don't even think about it).