VVD MP steps down because of ‘affair’ with young party worker

The Netherlands has never had a female prime minister. Photo: DutchNews.nl

VVD MP Han ten Broeke has stepped down because of revelations about what he qualified as a ‘short-lived and intimate relationship’ he had with a young party worker in 2013.

His resignation follows revelations about the relationship published by magazine HP/De Tijd. Ten Broeke, who has been an MP since 2006, says in a statement published on his website it was a relationship ‘I should not have allowed myself to enter into.’

According to the magazine, the woman accused the MP of ‘sexual harrassment’ at the time and denies being in a relationship with him. Halbe Zijlstra, VVD parliamentary party leader at the time, said in a reaction to the allegation that the woman was offered legal assistance and was urged to report Ten Broeke.

In his statement Ten Broek only conceded that the relationship was not equal: ‘not in the sense of power or authority but in that I was an MP and she a party worker in her mid-twenties,’ he said.

Ten Broeke says he and the woman came to a ‘legal agreement’ not to talk about the affair in public and that Halbe Zijlstra, the then leader of the parliamentary party, had laid the affair before the integrity commission. Ten Broeke was then allowed to carry on as an MP.

Klaas Dijkhoff, who now heads the parliamentary party, said he knew of the affair but that ‘it wasn’t his job to second-guess the decisions made by a predecessor.’

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