Shame of Red Reverend, the Corbynista would-be MP caught having two affairs by his wife
HE’S nicknamed the Red Reverend for his devotion to both Jeremy Corbyn and Christ.
But it would seem the Rev Steven Saxby has been spreading a little too much of the gospel of love.
The 48-year-old has apologised to his wife of 20 years after she accused him of repeated affairs – including one with a church organist.
Momentum supporter Mr Saxby is hoping to become an MP for Labour in Cities of London and Westminster, one of the party’s key target seats.
Last night he announced he was taking a break from campaigning and was on leave from his duties at Saint Barnabas in Walthamstow, East London, while church officials investigate the claims.
His wife, Christine, has told friends their marriage is struggling to survive after she discovered he not only had a brief affair in October, but she suspected he had been in a secret four-year relationship with an international pianist, who was a member of their congregation and who she counted a friend.
Mrs Saxby told friends of her ‘great pain and sadness’ at finding out about his infidelity. The suspected ‘other woman’ is a trained pianist and conductor who came to London to study for a Masters at the Royal College of Music.
After a brief spell working at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Berlin Opera Academy, she has now left the country.
The accomplished musician, who has performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, has played at venues across the world, including in London at the Royal Festival Hall.
In 2016, she took part in a concert at Mr Saxby’s church and wrote on her social media account that she was ‘ glad to serve as an occasional organist’ there.
Mr Saxby won a hotly-contested selection to become Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Cities of London and Westminster in February last year after getting support from union Unite and the endorsement of shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who described him as a ‘good socialist comrade’.
The central London seat, which includes the Houses of Parliament, was put on Labour’s target list for the next election, after Foreign Office minister Mark Field, who has been the Tory MP since 2001, saw his majority slashed from 9,671 to 3,148 in 2017.
Critics, however, questioned Mr Saxby’s suitability after a YouTube clip emerged showing him speaking alongside firebrand ex-MP George Galloway at a mosque in East
‘Great pain and sadness’
London. In the 2015 film, Mr Saxby accused the Government of ‘ extremism’ by bombing Syria, and claiming it was ‘stigmatising Muslim children’ with its anti-radicalisation Prevent strategy.
Mr Corbyn last year appeared at a campaign rally alongside Mr Saxby and posed with him holding a placard that said: ‘Steven’s Team’. On his Instagram account, Mr Saxby has posted a series of pictures of himself with other highprofile party figures, including shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite.
In 2017 he was pictured with his arm around transgender model Talulah-Eve Brown, 23, at a Gay Times award ceremony in London.
Mr Saxby has been aiming for political office for years – telling a reporter in 2015 that he aimed to become the first churchman since 1801 to remain a vicar after being elected to Parliament.
There has traditionally been nervousness about clergymen exerting pressure on congregations to support a particular political party. To that end Mr Saxby sought to stand in a constituency away from his parish.
The clergyman intends to remain the Labour candidate for Cities of London and Westminster and is hoping to return to work as a vicar in May following a two-month break if the church allows it.
It is understood he is currently living away from the Edwardian vicarage where his wife and their four children have remained.
In a statement, Mr Saxby said: ‘I am immensely sorry for the hurt I have caused my wife and family and will be working to address the mistakes I have made over the coming months. My family need space and patience during this tough time.’
Labour said: ‘This is a personal matter for Steven and his family.’ The Diocese of Chelmsford said it was investigating the allegations against Mr Saxby. His wife declined to comment.