United Kingdom

Jeremy Corbyn's 'Red Reverend' gets defrocked after cheating on his wife with a church organist 

A ‘Red Reverend’ selected as a Labour parliamentary candidate has been defrocked for twice cheating on his wife – including with a church organist.

Steven Saxby, 49, was a hard-Left cassock-wearing ally of Jeremy Corbyn and ran for the key seat of Cities of London and Westminster.

He planned to be the first serving minister in centuries to retain his dog collar while sitting in the Commons.

Steven Saxby, 49 (right), was a hard-Left cassock-wearing ally of Jeremy Corbyn (left) and ran for the key seat of Cities of London and Westminster.

But he was shamed when his wife discovered his affairs with the organist and an international pianist.

Christine Saxby told friends in the congregation their marriage looked doomed then kicked him out of the Edwardian vicarage they shared with their four children.

The Daily Mail revealed her claims in March last year and the Church of England suspended him. He apologised for ‘mistakes’.

Remarkably, Labour retained him as a candidate until separate claims of sexual harassment within the party followed, and he resigned before the general election while denying wrongdoing.

Now the Church of England has completed his disgrace by sacking him from his parish in east London. 

A spokesman for the Diocese of Chelmsford said last night: ‘Steven Saxby has been removed from his post as vicar of St Barnabas, Walthamstow, by the Acting Bishop of Chelmsford for conduct unbecoming of a priest in relation to adultery.

Talulah-Eve and Steven Saxby attend the Gay Times Honours on November 18, 2017 at the National Portrait Gallery in London

‘He no longer holds office in the Diocese of Chelmsford. We hold everyone affected by this situation in our prayers.’

Mrs Saxby last year told friends of her ‘great pain and sadness’ at her husband’s betrayal, including the affair with the pianist. 

She said at the time: ‘My husband of 20 years had an affair during October of last year, which I just found out about last night. Unfortunately, it was not the first.

‘The “other woman” accidentally revealed information, which led me to finding out that he had an affair for four years with a trusted friend and sometime member of our congregation.’

She added: ‘I know that you will be shocked as I am about this. Please pray for us. We are in quite a precarious situation now regarding our house and future.’ 

Mrs Saxby went on: ‘I am trying so hard but it is difficult to remain dignified when your life is falling apart. I want to rage. The storm is still unfolding and every day brings more revelations. There seems to be no end to the lies.’

Christine Saxby (pictured with her husband) kicked him out of their vicarage they share with their four children

The organist left the country around the same time the vicar was suspended, and when contacted by the Mail she refused to discuss their relationship.

In 2016 she wrote on social media of how she was ‘glad to serve as an occasional organist’ for the clergyman. Before being unmasked as an adulterer, Mr Saxby had dispensed pious advice on Twitter such as: ‘Blessed be the politician who personally exemplifies credibility.’

And he had told a reporter that he planned to be the first clergyman since 1801 to continue conducting services after election to parliament. The ‘Red Rev’ – who in 2017 embraced transgender model Talulah-Eve Brown, 23, at a Gay Times award ceremony in London – had sought a high profile as a follower of Mr Corbyn.

The former Labour leader was even pictured alongside him at a campaign rally holding a placard saying ‘Steven’s Team’.

Before his antics were exposed, he had gained critics by accusing the Government of ‘extremism’ for involvement in the Syrian civil war, and of ‘stigmatising Muslim children’ through anti-terror measures. Last night Mr Saxby told the Daily Mail: ‘I am no longer in the Labour Party and am trying to move on with my life.’ Mrs Saxby declined to comment.

Labour did not respond to questions about its separate inquiry into alleged sexual harassment when he was a candidate. Even after his wife exposed his affairs, a Labour spokesman had said: ‘Steven will make an incredible MP.’ 

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