THE husband of Philippa Mayo is said by a family friend to have been left devastated and angry by his wife's affair with James Gray.

Mr Mayo was with his wife when she first met Mr Gray at a Vote Okay campaign meeting in February 2005.

Asked what Mr Mayo thought of Mr Gray he said: "It would be unprintable in a family newspaper.'' He said that Mr Mayo had been trying for some time to contact Mr Gray by phone and by letter to find out his intentions and to see whether or not he had told his wife about the affair.

"He wrote a very long letter asking him how long he intended deceiving his family and his constituents.

"He wrote that he was not fit to be a shadow minister or to be in government, should the Conservatives ever get into power. But he never received a reply.'' He said Mr Mayo had finally agreed to separate from his wife during a holiday in the summer.

"He hoped that she would see sense and see that there was another way to live her life.

"But it became clear that she and James Gray wanted to continue with their relationship.

"He didn't want to continue living a lie so he had no choice but to move out.'' The couple waited until two weeks ago to tell their friends and family because their son was studying for an exam.

Mr Mayo has moved into another house a few miles from the family home.

"The children will find it very difficult,'' said the friend.

Mr Mayo is expected to begin divorce proceedings soon. The couple have yet to discuss where their children will live once the divorce is settled.