Hove MP Peter Kyle has spoken about the darkest times of his life in his most personal interview to date.
The Labour MP told The Times about the death of his partner, his mother and one of his closest friends and how he came through those losses.
He wrote on his Facebook page: “Sometimes you go through some tough moments in life and realise that some good could come out of it if others can benefit from your experience.
“Back in 2012 my life was profoundly impacted by the loss of some of the people I loved most in life.
“After a huge amount of reflection I finally decided to sit down and talk about those moments, what happened to me and how I recovered.
“I’m very grateful to journalist Alice Thompson and The Times for being extremely patient with me and handling this with such sensitivity. It took six months from our first conversation before I finally sat down to be interviewed.
“I’m glad I did and I hope others who experience the horrible impact of losing those they love will find some connection to my account. Perhaps they might even discover hope that recovery and happiness are possible for them as it has been for me.”
To read the full interview, click here. The article may be behind a paywall.
The interview starts … The phone kept ringing in Peter Kyle’s London flat. It was dark outside. He finally picked it up. It was 5.33am.
“A woman’s voice said, ‘Mr Kyle, this is a detective inspector from Sussex Police. Are you the partner of Vlastimil Tiser? I am so sorry to have to inform you that he’s dead. He died overnight.’
“I couldn’t speak,” Kyle explains. “She kept asking, ‘Can you please repeat to me what I said, so I know you have understood.’”
By now Kyle was out of bed shaking and sweating. He finally managed to ask what he should do. “She told me, ‘You need to come to Brighton and a detective will meet you to talk through what’s happened.’ My phone hit the floor, I was so agitated,” he says.
Kyle, who is now a Labour shadow minister, summoned up the strength to call his best friend, Rob, but there was no answer. So, almost without realising it, he rang Louise Casey, the victims’ commissioner at the time, a friend from his work as a policy adviser.
“As soon as I heard her voice I was sobbing and shuddering, unable to speak.” Casey immediately assumed Kyle’s mother, who was gravely ill, had died. “I know you had a complicated relationship,” she reassured him. Kyle had to explain that it was the love of his life who was dead.
“We were both stunned. She told me to have a hot shower and meet me at Victoria station. I put one foot in front of the other and there was Louise at a café with a large pile of tissues. She made some phone calls with me to the police and the coroner’s office. Then she put me on the train to Brighton and Rob picked me up at the other end.”
Eleven years on, Kyle has become the MP for Hove and is a rising star in the Labour Party. He’s already held two jobs in the shadow cabinet, and is currently shadow secretary of state for science, innovation and technology, but he’s never had another serious relationship and few even in his own party know about the tragedy.
“Vlas and I were together for eight years. He was the only person I’d ever loved,” he explains. He can’t say how his partner was killed for legal reasons – the chief suspect was investigated but no further action was taken because the police said at the time they had insufficient evidence.
“But ultimately someone paid a price for what happened that night.”
To read the rest of the interview, click here.