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So the breakdown of his marriage is a tragedy for Barker's wife and kids but not for him as well? What a bizarre thing to say.

I don't think "MP is bisexual" is much of a story either, to be honest.

When a man leaves his wife and children, it's pretty normal to offer comiserations to the wife and not the person who's done the walking out.

I think you're rather clutching at straws in search of homophobia.

Since I do not know what Barker and his wife saw in each other to make them choose to marry; nor how their marriage functioned; nor why it seemingly fell apart; I can offer no insight.

I do however think that it would be nice if this litany of similar events ie Shaun Woodward inter alia, did not become too frequent as it gives the impression that MPs' Websites with happy families hide some dark secrets hidden from voters and wives

The Telegraph and Mail have the story as well.

The personal tragedy cannot be the most important part of the story as it is no more than gossip to those not involved. Allegations of hypocrisy are far more important. Is Barker a social Conservative in the tradition of Cecil Parkinson: the anti-abortionist who encouraged his mistress to get an abortion? If Conservatives had to live by the morality they seek to impose on others, there would be far fewer Conservatives.

" don't think "MP is bisexual" is much of a story either, to be honest"

I think he has refused to comment on his sexual orientations (which are just his business anyway)

Greg Barker is my MP and it was reported to the Conservative Group on Rother District Council that he and his wife had decided to separate and there was no other person involved. It was confirmed that Greg would occupy some rooms at the (extensive) marital home, so he could continue to see his children at weekends. To the best of my knowledge this remains the case today.

He is an excellent constituency MP and I suspect he has suffered at the hands of the journo's by being a public figure. He and his wife and family should be left alone to try to sort out the marital breakdown, which at the end of the day is simply what anyone in similar circumstances would want.

I think "glass houses" and "throwing stones" come to mind here. Also casting motes out of peoples eyes?
We should just shut up, leave this family to sort itself out, and the constituency, not us to make any careeer decisions.
Every party has members whose life style the red top press would love to get a hold of. Let us not encourage it.

Stephen Newton,

While your point has some merit, do you not accept that it is perfectly proper to aspire to high standards and to promote those standards as good for society, while through weakness falling short of those same standards?

Your approach would otherwise lead us towards timid politicians afraid to give a lead on any subject involving personal conduct.

As someone said earlier, it's not his lifestyle and sexual orientation which is the issue here. That's entirely his business and this is a personal matter.

However, if he has been hypocritcal in his public pronouncements on the family, affairs, gay issues etc etc, then he has made it a story himself.

I don't quite understand the thrust of the article above, is it suggesting this personal private story is somehow a result of Tory Party policy?

And this is important how?

I think I am right in saying that the party has polled this kind of thing - the answers they found were perhaps surprising. The didn't mind if someone was gay, what they did mind was if there was deception and if other people were wronged. Maybe this isn't surprising. I would find it difficult to believe that Barker says knowing that he had lied to his wife and kids so successfully.

Also, how on earth did he get environment with his background at Abramovich's Sibneft?

Like Cllr Standring I have, at least until our family completes the move to Corby, the good fortune to be one of Greg Barker's constituents. He is a cracking MP for Bexhill and Battle; his latest triumph was to save Bexhill's direct rail service to London - I'm just one resident who benefited. He is widely liked and respected here.

On the wider political stage, Greg is a great Shadow Environment Minister and our party - and the country - owe him a huge debt for the part he played in David Cameron's leadership campaign. Greg's vision has been proven true by events and he understood what David Cameron was trying to do long before it was fashionable.

I would also like to give testimony to Greg's political generosity. Last autumn when I was trying to get a PAB, Greg, although a very busy MP, took time out of his schedule to meet me for almost an hour and give me invlauable help and advice.

A great MP. A great shadow, and soon to be actual, minister. A visionary politician who can justly claim to have changed the UK's political scene because of the part he played in Cameron's election. I hope the Conservative party has a few more just like him. His private life is none of our business.

It's disappointing that you should have this personal story "first up" on the website this morning - we can all read it in the Telegraph and there is nothing more to say. What's personal is personal. Louise Bagshawe's post says all that is relevant and it's not even the right moment for any further debate on his political merits.

Let's show our maturity by making this the last post on the subject please.

His private life is none of our business.

Unfortunately for Mr Barker, he has pontificated on and judged other people's private affairs, helping to make them very public, and has placed on paper incorrect factual information to one of his constituents, which caused considerable damage to another person. A private life is, indeed, 'none of our business'; hypocrisy and inadequacy in public life very much is.

Adrian Owens is right to fear that politicians who find themselves unable to practice what they preach, may be afraid to lead on moral issues. It is clear that Greg Barker has taken the line he has against the background of a losing battle with his own sexuality. It may be that his public homophobia is an extension of this private battle; that this personal fight has compromised him.

Given that he has failed to work the issues out in a way that enables him to live a life free from hypocrisy, he is no position to regulate the private lives of others. Only when he has succeeded in squaring the circles will he have something to offer.

This was heavily hinted at in a diary piece in the Observer about a month ago:

Anyone wondering why Peter Mandelson's boyfriend, Reinaldo da Silva, didn't make it to the Labour conference will be relieved to learn that it was because he has been on a walking holiday in South America. 'His presence wasn't thought necessary,' explains a mole. Meanwhile, I hear the sad news that, Celeste , wife of affable Tory environment spokesman Greg Barkerwon't be attending his party conference because they've separated. Although sources say 'they remain friends', marital problems besetting Tories - Zac Goldsmith and James Gray MP in the past fortnight - can't but remind us of the bad old days, which Dave Cameron would prefer we forget.

I always feel sorry for MPs who have their personal lifes invaded by journalists looking for stories like this. After all, it doesn't affect his ability to be a good MP. The only real story is the potential hypocracy from not voting pink in parliament. But MPs have to remain pretty loyal to their party and he may have been in denial anyway.

But I also feel sorry for him that he couldn't be out earlier. I think it is quite indicative of the positive direction society is going that he is now able to be honest with himself and others.

Barker hasn't by any chance been seeing Mark Oaten has he?
Guido on his 5th november blog has alluded to this story, with all the usual innuendo and comment from readers.
Clearly the selection process needs to be upgraded to weed out people like BARKER who not only let the party down, but let their family down and give politics a dirty name.

His private life is indeed our business, Louise, since he makes our private lives his business....

If you can lie to your wife and children, what care would you have about telling the truth to the public?

Didnt this guy have some irregularity about his CV? I think there was an attempt to deselect him wasnt there?

and our party - and the country - owe him a huge debt for the part he played in David Cameron's leadership campaign.

Gushing Girl swoons over Cameron

When a person enters public life, that is asks his/her fellow citizens for the mark of approval of the vote, to represent tham in what ever political capacity MP, councillor, what ever, the voters have a right to expect a certain standard of behaviour. If what John Prescott did was wrong, (it was) he should have resigned as both a minister and an MP. Mr Barker has I believe fallen below the standards that we the voters should expect from our representatives. He should now either resign or be disowned by his party. A message would then be sent out that we the voters will not accept this standard of behaviour from our representatives.

While I'm not keen on poking my nose into other peoples' business, Mr Barker is a public figure and as a representative of the people he ought to be setting a good example. Regardless of his sexuality, betraying his wife (if this is what actually happened) is a form of behaviour which should be unreservedly condemned.

Politicians are generally despised and distrusted nowadays. One of the ways to fix this is to avoid offending the moral instincts of the public and aspire to live decent lives like millions of other people do. It's not impossible.

"If Conservatives had to live by the morality they seek to impose on others, there would be far fewer Conservatives."

Or perhaps due to their lack of hypocrisy people might take their views more seriously.

This is a non-story.

Arthur at 11:16 has it precisely.

These people represent us and their moral and ethical behaviour should be beyond reproach.
If it is not, then a resignation should not only be demanded but be automatic.
NuLab have demeaned public office with their shenanigins, and the lack of accountability, going all the way back to Mandelson, (wonder how Reinaldo got his visa), via the Cook and Prescott affairs and the general sleaze which goes unchecked and unremarked.
It has to stop and standards enforced, which would include lying to Parliament and the people...vide B-Liar.

Some really unpleasant posts on this thread.Greg Barkers' marital difficulties are a tragedy for his family noone else.As with Oaten I'm not really sure if this is a suitable subject for a Diary piece Tim

Steady on there Arthur, the Barker situation is not in any way analagous to Prescott's. The reasons Prescott should resign (other than manifest inability to do the job) include abuse of position of authority when dealing with women and abuse of public office. Neither of those have anything whatsoever to do with this case.

This is a non-story.

Posted by: Justin Hinchcliffe | October 26, 2006 at 11:23


Proof if proof were needed that this IS a story, albeit a rather nasty one.

What is wrong is wrong, it does not make it less wrong, because the person happens to ba a member of the political party you support. As I said before if you want a 'private life' do not offer yourself up for election as a representative of the people. If you are a married man, you have responsibilities to your wife and children. If you betray your wife and children, you are committing an act which I believe makes you unfit for public office. I have been married for almost forty years, I have never or would not under any circumstances whatsoever betray my wife or children. I am not religious in fact I'm an atheist. I just happen to believe, there are some things that render you unfit for public office, Mr Major, Barker, Oaten, Johnson, Prescott et all have fallen below the standards that we the voters should expect. How can you expect the people of this country to have any respect for their MP's if they behave like this.

There is no comparison between this and Prescott. Prescott abused his power and position in having an affair with one of his employees in his office at various times when he should be working. That is not the same as a family breaking up because a man has discovered that he has feelings he previously did not recognise.

Greg should be allowed to work out his personal problems in private for as long as they do not affect his job. He has done nothing wrong, his voting record on pink issues is not a problem for two reasons. Firstly he may not have even known he was gay (or bisexual) at the time he voted, secondly it is perfectly possible for him to be gay but not vote for every gay friendly bill, I know gay people who do not believe in gay marriage or adoption. It is perfectly possible to believe in the traditional family unit as being the best way to bring up children even if your own circumstances are more complicated.

I thought he'd left him for DC when I say the pic in the Mirror!! No that would be a story.

RobD - unfortunately Barker and Prescott are similar. Barker has copped off with an interior designer he employed.

We can all have the right on views we want, but the story is not the affair but that fact he has left his wife for a MAN. Like it or not the county is hypocritical, the same standards are not applied to those who have hetrosexual affairs as those who have homosexual affairs.

It is laughable all these members of his constituency coming on defending him. Did they not have a vote of no confidence in him for allegedly falsifying his CV.

He doesn't quite appear the stand up guy that he is made out to be by some posters on this site.

This has nothing to do with a man's sexual orientation. Chris Bryan't caused himself considerable embarrassment by putting photo's of himself on a gay website. That was stupid and silly, but as he is known to be gay, no wife or children involved, no problem. When you are married and in public life, you have a duty and responsibility to maintain a high standard of moral behaviour, not just for yourself, but for the sake of your wife and children and your constituents. No amount of twisting and turning and comparisons, or intellectual dishonesty can disguise the fact that MP's and others who behave like this should no longer be tolerated.


Help us out here. Can we have a list of professions which must live up to your moral standards to be able to do the job? Let me kick off your list, do correct me if I get any wrong:

- Monarch
- Politician (from the Parish Council to the Lords)
- Cleric
- Educationalist (horrid word, but intended to include all from teaching assistant to headmaster)
- Policeman
- Lawyer (solicitor, barrister, judge - all "officers of the court")
- Doctor
- Journalist

Any more you can come up with?

I'm afraid it IS a story. A great tabloid story, about a Tory MP leaving his wife for a man, which for those of us outside of metro London is great gossip.

There is of course a solution for this, and as one of the only young, married, straight members of the party, with a good relationship with my dad (even if he is a socialist!) can offer it here:

Be well behaved. It saves a lot of grief, and means one can concentrate on the job in hand. It's not normal to leave your wife after falling for the decorator, and maybe if he had been less greedy and more honest we would not be having this discussion. I just feel very very sorry for his wife and kids, and wonder how the Tory party came to be run by a certain clique who view this coming and goings as normal.

Some of the posts on here prove that this website is hijacked by hacks from other parties intent on showing disunity and stirring trouble among true Conservatives.
If Mr Barker has had an affair or not is his business and that of his family. Nobody else. IF Mr Barker is gay or bisexual it is something he has to come to terms with. It does NOT affect his ability to be a good MP or Shadow Minister. What does affect his ability to do his job well is the petty, nasty gossip and chatter of people who have nothing better to do but to stand on the sidelines bitching. If some of the people commenting on this site are so morally superior, they should be fast tracked to public office - or to be Ministers of the Church.
I don't care who a politician sleeps with as long as all concerned are consenting. Nor do I particularly wish to hear about it. What I do want, and dearly hope we get soon, is a Conservative Government that stays out of people's private lives and allows people to run their own lives free from State interference. Mr Barker and his family have my sincerest sympathies. I hope that is a sentiment shared by all good Conservatives.

Journalists! I'm surprised to see that august profession included.
The difference is a politician, is elected, has told us all, they are such wonderful people they deserve our trust, we the electors have put them there as representatives. That includes councillors and members of the House of Lords, even though the Lords are not elected, they also have a responsibility.
Even though I'm hardly the one to comment believing all religion is a confidence trick. The next Monarch's position as head of the church, is surely a peculiar one. The sexual behaviour of teacher's and doctors is of course closely watched and some behaviour is deemed illegal.

Louise Bagshawe: "our party - and the country - owe him a huge debt for the part he played in David Cameron's leadership campaign". Is this satire? Is a prospective member of parliament really posting things like? With a straight face?

Obviously this story is of absolutely no interest. That's why no one has yet commented.........


Do you care if a politician shows a pattern of deception in his private life?


"Firstly he may not have even known he was gay (or bisexual) at the time he voted"

ha ha ha ha, arf arf arf, ho ho ho....the most idiotic sentence on here...

I am 75 years old and I must say this standard of private behaviour is not tolerated by my age group.Private behaviour is a mirror of Public Behaviour and the two are not seperate.
I have often said that the Conservative Party is a Party caught up in SEX,and is on the slide to decadence like the Romans.
Lying to wife and children,Do as I say not as I do,inadequacy,pontification to his electorate are all bad as the qualities of an MP.
He must resign or be voted out by his electorate.

Louise Bagshawe's post is deserving of 'Private Eye's' OBN~ order of the Brown Nose.

It's people like her who have turned me from a loyal party memmber to a 'disillusioned activitist'

- Monarch

Well, our current one has set a very good example. A pity her son couldn't follow it. Maybe William will be able to succeed where his father failed.

- Politician

We elected them to make decisions affecting our lives. Those that sit in Parliament are supposed to be our leaders and representatives. Therefore they have a duty to set a good example.

- Cleric

A matter for the Church but one would hope that any misdemeanors were punished as these people claim to be our moral guardians.

- Educationalist (horrid word, but intended to include all from teaching assistant to headmaster)

A matter for the parents of the children they educate. If parents don't like the fact that their children are being set a bad example they ought to demand that the educationalist in question is given the boot.

- Policeman

As long as they don't break the law.

- Lawyer (solicitor, barrister, judge - all "officers of the court")

Such people already have a code of conduct they must abide by. If they bring the profession into disrepute they an be struck off.

- Doctor

Just as long as they don't "interfere" with patients

- Journalist

Only those who preach family values.

In addition to my above post, I ought to point to the example of Edward VIII.

"He must resign or be voted out by his electorate", says Margaret Wilson. Comments like that make me sick! It's becoming increasingly difficult to persuade my non-Conservative friends - both gay and straight - that we're changing and becoming more progressive after such public bigotry. Thankfully, you hold no position of power and never will.

I think enough has been said on this now and I'm closing the thread.

Robert Halfon has emailed me this:

"Greg Barker is an incredibly kind man and an excellent Conservative envrionment Spokesman. He helped me for a day in Harlow visiting a number of environmental projects including a sewerage works, a local action group and a waste recyling plant. He also spoke to Party activists over lunch. He could not have been more thoughtful.He helped generate acres of local press coverage. I wish him well."

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