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Two-timing, sock-wearing, dirty-talking Byers flies off to Crete ..for a spot of girlfriend grovelling; HE ADMITS HOTEL FLING.

Byline: BOB ROBERTS Political Correspondent

SHAMED Stephen Byers was last night trying to salvage his long-term relationship after revelations he had a sleazy one-night stand.

The former Transport Secretary flew to Crete with live-in girlfriend of 15 years Jan Cookson to talk over their future.

He admitted this weekend that he had a fling with blonde Labour councillor Barbara Corish, 52. They had sex in his hotel room after a party conference.

But when Mr Byers, a close friend of Tony Blair's, started talking dirty, she fled. The pair had met late at night in a hotel bar.

She invited him back to her hotel for a drink but he suggested they go to his room instead. He gave her a vodka and tonic from the room's mini bar and said he had been with his girlfriend for 15 years but she would not marry him.

Barbara said: "Eventually he leaned forward and started kissing me. I said, 'We'd better go to bed' and he answered 'Yeah, you're right we should'."

She went to the bathroom and when she returned, Mr Byers was naked except for his black socks. He took them off and got into bed. Barbara said:

There was no foreplay. He just wanted me to jump on him. I got on to the bed and he pulled me towards him.

I lay down and he was on top of me. It was obvious he was aroused. We started having sex then I moved to go on top.

It was pretty clear to me that I was going to do all the work and he was going to lie back and enjoy it all.

I started faking it with some groaning because he wasn't doing anything for me.

But I must have been groaning too loudly because he put his hand over my mouth so the people in the next rooms wouldn't hear.

The things he began saying got stronger.

Some women might like their men to talk dirt but this was obscene filth.

He was, in effect, calling me a tart and getting a kick out of it.

He said he wondered how many other men I had been with and that's what he was getting off on. It was the most disgusting thing I've ever had a man say to me in my life.

Barbara says she was so horrified she left the room the Marriott Hotel in Cardiff at 4am.

In a statement Mr Byers and solicitor Ms Cookson said: "We talked together at the time about what had happened between Steve and Barbara. This is a private matter and we will not be making any other public comment."

Barbara, from Sefton, Merseyside, was dumped by her boyfriend yesterday over the revelations. The man, calling himself only Jimmy, said he felt like "a laughing stock" and then headed off to watch the World Cup in a bar.

Mr Byers, who has a 28-year-old son from a previous relationship, has told how his girlfriend found it difficult to deal with the flak he attracted.

He added that Jan, who shares a flat with him in Hampstead, North London, was more upset than him during the "tough times".

Mr Byers was dogged by bad publicity before finally quitting his post last month.

His North Tyneside constituency agent, Eddie Darke, said: "Stephen's private life is his own business. I am expecting him back in Britain on Thursday."

CAPTION(S):

SMILES: But Stephen Byers cheated on girlfriend Jan Cookson after a party conference; SO SHOCKED: Barbara Corish
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Words:588
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