Shamed MP David Warburton gets family's backing

Wife of drug scandal MP ‘is standing by him’: David Warburton’s brother-in-law’s shock at lurid claims as troubled Tory is admitted to psychiatric hospital after photos of him with ‘lines of cocaine’ and probe over ‘unwanted advances on women’

  • Conservative MP David Warburton, 56, is embroiled in a sex and drugs scandal
  • He told friends he had been through ‘sheer hell’ as he was admitted to hospital
  • He is currently in a psychiatric hospital suffering from severe stress and stress
  • Conservatives suspended him after picture next to what appears to be cocaine
  • He is accused of abusing the drug and inappropriately touching three women 
  • Mr Warburton, who denies any wrongdoing, has the full backing from his wife 

The wife of a Tory MP embroiled in a sex and drugs scandal is standing by him, her brother has said.

David Warburton, 56, told friends he had been through ‘sheer hell’ as he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital suffering from severe shock and stress.

The Conservative Party suspended him at the weekend after a picture of him sitting alongside what is claimed to be lines of cocaine emerged.

The MP for Somerton and Frome in Somerset faces a parliamentary investigation after being accused of abusing the drug and inappropriately touching three women. 

Mr Warburton’s wife of 20 years, Harriet, 52, was said to be fully backing her husband, who denies all wrongdoing.

David Warburton’s wife of 20 years, Harriet, 52, was said to be fully backing her husband, who denies accusations of abusing the cocaine and inappropriately touching three women

The Conservative Party suspended David Warburton at the weekend after a picture of him sitting alongside what is claimed to be lines of cocaine emerged

Her brother Jonathan Baker-Bates said: ‘Absolutely, they’re standing by each other at the moment … They’ve always been a very happy couple for as long as I’ve known them. Harriet is obviously affected herself … I think she is obviously finding it hard.

‘I got a call from my sister last night. That’s the first time I’ve heard of it. She seems to be surprised by it as much as anyone else. Her line is as his – he’s not done anything wrong and these things have explanations.’

Mr Warburton’s father-in-law was equally shocked.

Merrick Baker-Bates, 82, the former deputy high commissioner to Malaysia and British consul general in Los Angeles, said: ‘When I saw the paper this morning I thought it was an April Fool joke.’

Mr Warburton and his wife live with their two teenage children in a six-bedroom detached house in the village of Baltonsborough, near Glastonbury, which they bought last year for £1.3million.

PR professional Mrs Warburton, the cousin of former Cabinet secretary Lord Butler, confirmed her husband’s hospital admission, said to be a private facility, but refused to comment herself. She is also her husband’s publicly funded personal assistant and communications officer.

Her brother, 55, from north London, said he saw Mr Warburton only a few weeks ago and he ‘seemed to be normal David’.

‘David’s a nice guy. It came as a shock to all of us. I would imagine he has good reasons for why he is saying he is denying it,’ he added.

Mr Warburton, who has had the Tory whip withdrawn, has said he plans to launch a robust defence to counter the allegations.

When asked about the photograph supposedly showing the MP posing next to white powder, Mr Baker-Bates said: ‘As far as I know, that behaviour is out of character and the wider allegations appear out of character.

‘He was always very conscious that he is an MP so it is surprising in that context,’ he said.

Mr Warburton with then Prime Minister Theresa May at the Bath and West Show in 2017

He also questioned whether the allegations could be part of a ‘fix-up’ following claims that the MP might have been the victim of a sting by a foreign power. He said: ‘It does seem to have a lot of ingredients of something.’

MI5 chiefs warned this year that hostile countries could target MPs. But Whitehall sources suggested there was no malign state involvement in this instance.

Nevertheless, officials have referred the case to MI6 out of an abundance of caution, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Mr Warburton is now being investigated by Parliament’s new ‘#MeToo’ harassment watchdog, the Independent Complaints Grievance Scheme.

He also allegedly failed to declare a £100,000 loan in 2017 from a Russian businessman.

London-based Roman Joukovski, 52, whom the MP has since repaid, was named in High Court papers last year as a defendant in an alleged cryptocurrency fraud. The case appears to have been settled and was closed in January.

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