MP Simon Danczuk's plea on 'moderate' drinking

Simon Danczuk MP Credit: PA Pictures

An MP who blamed a sexting scandal on his alcohol problem has urged the Government to do more to highlight the health benefits of moderate drinking.

Simon Danczuk remains suspended from the Labour Party after he admitted sending sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old girl in January.

At the time he told the media a "drink problem" was a "major contributory reason" for sending the messages, which he apologised for.

Speaking during health questions in the Commons, Mr Danczuk said: "There's an overwhelming scientific evidence base which shows the health benefits of moderate drinking, it's something I can attest to.

"Do you not agree that the chief medical officer should highlight these benefits more?"

New alcohol guidance issued in January caused controversy by warning that no level of regular drinking is without risk to health.

But, replying to the MP, health minister Nicola Blackwood said: "They (the guidelines) are in place to help people make informed decisions about how they drink and decide whether they want to take less risks with their drinking.

"They are not designed to label everyone who drinks as a problem drinker or to prevent everyone who wants to drink from drinking."

She added that Mr Danczuk's constituency of Rochdale has more than double the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions than other areas in England.