Mark Richardson 'feels' for Iain Lees-Galloway after 12-month relationship with staffer revelations

Mark Richardson has expressed his sympathy for Labour's Iain Lees-Galloway after it was revealed on Wednesday the MP had a 12-month relationship with a former staffer.

Lees-Galloway was stripped of his ministerial roles by the Prime Minister later that day and announced he wouldn't stand for reelection as Palmerston North's MP at the election.

But Richardson, co-host of The AM Show, says other people are casting their own morality over others and are deciding what their morals should be.

"Against the law is against the law, but this is just a moral debate and I sort of feel for Iain Lees-Galloway to a certain extent," he said on Thursday.

He believes Lees-Galloway has been judged differently to others and wouldn't have lost his job if he was a "good minister".

"I hope this doesn't destroy the individual, and it wouldn't if he was good at what he was doing and had a track rate of success. It wouldn't change my opinion of whether he could continue to achieve that.

"I see this as a thing that he needs to work out with the real victims here, which I believe to be his family."

Iain Lees-Galloway.
Iain Lees-Galloway. Photo credit: Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday she felt it was necessary to sack him over his relationship with a former staffer because he was the Minister of Workplace Relations.

"Given the nature of the sustained period... the issue is that this could've led to accusations of him inappropriately using his office given his role as Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety.

"There are circumstances here that I think reach a threshold that require the actions I've taken today and therefore is something I would've wished the minister to have shared with me.... I've made the decision about the role and my confidence in him as a minister."

The revelations surrounding Lees-Gallowing came just two days after former National MP Andrew Falloon announced his resignation, and allegations he'd sent explicit images to several young women quickly ensued.

The AM Show co-host Amanda Gillies says there's a difference between the two political scandals.

"It's different to the Andrew Falloon thing. The point here is that [Lees-Galloway's relationship] was a consensual relationship with a staffer. Yes there was an imbalance of power, but these were two willing people," she says.

"Whereas the Andrew Falloon thing, they were unsolicited, unwanted pornography messages sent and therein lies a big difference."

She says she also has sympathy for Lees-Galloway's family.

"I feel so much for his wife and children, everything they're going through at the moment, and also for the staffer involved because this is going to be a really tough time for her too."