Mark Oaten: ‘I couldn’t sue over rent boy stories’
Mark Oaten, the shamed Liberal Democrat MP, has said that many of the lurid allegations about his dalliances were rent boys were untrue.
The MP was forced to quit his bid for the party leadership when the sex scandal broke in January 2006. He almost lost his marriage, although his wife Belinda chose to stand by him.
In an interview with The Times, he claimed that much of what was reported in the News of the World was untrue, but said he couldn’t sue because it “would drag everything up”.
It was suggested he had enjoyed threesomes and sex play involving humiliation, while some more extreme acts were hinted at.
Speaking about the prostitute, who he found in the back of a magazine, he said: “We never actually had intercourse. We talked, had a conversation about where he lived, but I was only there for about half an hour each time. We didn’t watch TV or relax together. He had a flatmate — that was the other one. He didn’t become a friend. I don’t even know his real name.”
Oaten also revealed the effect the scandal has had on his marriage.
He said: “We are best friends but there is no doubt in my mind that the marriage is not how it was. It’s just a different relationship and it always will be.
“What’s happened has changed us fundamentally. There are trust issues. We’re not the innocent couple that got married in 1992.”
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He added he did not know whether the dalliances were just a passing phase. “It’s part of me. I’m not one thing or the other on the spectrum. [Belinda and I] haven’t made promises or pledges to each other. We’re very realistic about how we are doing as a couple.”
At the time, he said male pattern baldness and a mid-life crisis had contributed to his extra-marital activities.
He plans to stand down his seat as MP for Winchester at the next election.
In a tell-all book, released last week, Oaten claimed he had a sexual affair with a much older man at the age of nine or ten.
He said the relationship was with a much older man who was in a “position of trust”.
“Clearly it was wrong, but it happened and I’ve not even been that worried about it,” he said. “I have never felt abused, hold no grudge and do not wish to drag the case up today.”