Sydney: Barnaby Joyce has resigned as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia after a tumultuous fortnight of allegations and personal revelations – including of his unborn love child.
Wearing his signature Akubra, a sombre Mr Joyce confirmed he was stepping down as Australia’s second most senior politician at a hastily convened press conference in Armidale in his New South Wales electorate.
‘On Monday morning at the party room, I will step down as the leader of the National Party and deputy leader of Australia. I have informed the acting Prime Minister, Mathias Cormann, of this,’ he told reporters.
Joyce will remain on the backbench, and will remain the MP for New England. He says he won’t endorse anyone to succeed him in the leadership role.
Pressure had been mounting over the past week for Mr Joyce to quit but intensified yesterday after fresh sexual harassment complaint emerged against the Deputy PM.
Some members of his party had also been pushing for a leadership spill when the House of Representatives returns next week.
They may get one on Monday, with Joyce expected to formally resign at 8am, and no known contenders for the role yet.
The speculation and its resolution comes weeks after Mr Joyce’s affair with his former press secretary, Vikki Campion, was revealed.
The former Deputy Prime Minister asked that his resignation be the ‘circuit-breaker’ for coverage on his new relationship and unborn son.