Brooks Newmark, a British Cabinet Office minister, resigned this weekend shortly before a tabloid (the Sunday Mirror) published a story asserting that he’d sent graphic photos of himself to a reporter posing as a young woman. From the Guardian:
After being told that the story would appear in a Sunday newspaper, the Conservative MP for Braintree and campaigner to increase the role and number of women in politics issued a statement saying he was quitting. He appealed for privacy for himself and his family.
The Sunday Mirror’s story says a freelance journalist created an online identity as a young Conservative operative named Sophie. “Sophie” was privately contacted by Newmark after they interacted on Twitter. Things (allegedly) went from there, as they do:
The pair discussed taking “it to the next level” before Sophie replied with an explicit naked picture and asked him to promise not to show anyone.
Newmark wrote: “You must be kidding! I’d never do that. But resend without your hand in the way and legs parted and I will send something in return. That way we both have a secret.” He added: “Assuming it meets my request and I reciprocate you MUST swear on a stack of Bibles you won’t show pics as I promise not to show pics of you? OK?”
The MP then sent a graphic image of himself to the reporter.
The Swedish model whose photo was used as “Sophie’s” profile picture has said she did not give the paper permission to use her image. This legal blog also raises the possibility that the Sunday Mirror could face criminal charges for “causing a person to indulge in sexual activity without consent,” mentioning a comparable incident in which a man tricked his daughter’s ex-boyfriend into masturbating on camera by posing as a young woman.