When she fell in love with Simon Danczuk as a naive 19-year-old factory worker, Sonia Rossington was confident she had found the path to a brighter future. Driven, charismatic and a natural communicator, Danczuk had seemed destined for a stellar career in politics – until last week’s revelation of his ‘sexting’ to a 17-year-old girl, Sophena Houlihan, and that humiliating apology.
After years of keeping her counsel, she exposes the Labour MP for Rochdale as a manipulative, sex-obsessed, misogynistic bully whose years of mental abuse left her needing therapy.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk’s political career was hanging by a thread last night after his first wife made devastating claims that he drove her into therapy with drug and alcohol-fuelled bullying – and obsessive demands for sex. Mr Danczuk, 49, a campaigner against child sexual abuse, has been suspended by the Labour Party after he offered to ‘spank’ a 17-year-old girl in a lurid exchange of text messages.
She claims that Mr Danczuk Pestered her for sex relentlessly, tried to get her interested in spanking, caning and sado-masochism, Drank vast quantities of alcohol, up to a bottle of whisky a day; Was a regular drug user who demanded that she have a cannabis joint ready-rolled when he came home from work as well as dinner on the table; Used amyl nitrite ‘poppers’ and pornography to make sex more exciting, Persistently intimidated and belittled her in front of others; Was so mean he refused to contribute to his son’s housing costs at university.
Sonia, who has remarried since her 2010 divorce from Mr Danczuk, said that she had not been at all surprised by his behaviour.
She furthermore went on to explain her ordeal with the man when they were married:
“‘I’m appalled at his disgusting behaviour with this young woman who is only a few years older than his daughter. But no, not surprised. To be honest, I was waiting for something like this to happen.’
She said that heir two children, George, 18, and daughter Marymartha, 13, are embarrassed by their father’s behaviour and intend to change their surnames.
After years of anxiety and panic attacks in the wake of her disastrous marriage, Sonia says she is speaking out now in part to come to terms with the past or, as she puts it, ‘to exorcise my demons’.
The height of the abuse, she claims, came in 2006, when Danczuk, already a workaholic, was preparing to become a Labour MP
‘He worked till two or three in the morning – researching everything he wanted to know about Rochdale. He was a Labour Party candidate but actually knew little about Rochdale so this was his way of catching up. But he was getting by on just a few hours’ sleep a night. He was also drinking heavily – usually a bottle of whisky a night.
‘We had little time together and hardly any communication, other than “I’ve ironed your shirt”, “This is for dinner”, “What is your schedule for this week?”
‘But when he came to bed he would have sex with me, interrupting my sleep. I would just wake up and it would be happening. It was always in the missionary position.
‘After a few weeks I was so exhausted I said to him “Please stop this” – but he tried to make me believe it was me who was initiating it. I was so confused. I thought I was going mad. I had no recollection of this at all. I started covering up, wearing long johns, pyjamas, socks, anything to make it more difficult for this to happen. I asked him to stop again.
‘But this went on for months. I thought I was going mad. If it was me initiating things why was he always on top? So I decided to stay awake and see what he actually did and try to find out the truth. What happened was sly and awful.
‘He’d sneak into the room, take off his clothes and peel back the bed covers, roll me on to my back, open my legs and start having sex with me. I let him do this a few times, pretending to be asleep and even tried to record it on a camera, but of course it was dark.
‘I confronted him about it later. I said, “I know what you do and I want it to stop. I can’t believe you tried to make me think it was me initiating things.” He said, “It’s a husband having sex with his wife”.
‘He said, “Listen, Sonia. This is the deal. You are my wife and it’s expected from a wife to give her husband sex whenever he wants it. If you don’t give it to me when I want it I’ll go and look elsewhere.” I burst into tears. But after that he carried on for months with a much more careless attitude.
‘He would throw the blankets off and roll me over though he only took 15-20 seconds to finish. At the same time there were an awful lot of rows. I didn’t feel I could fight back. I was heartbroken. I knew then that for the marriage there was no going back. I rang my mother in tears and she said, “That’s it. Come home.” But I couldn’t. Everything I had – the house, our money, the business – was tied up with Simon. But at that point I began planning my escape.’