Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has resigned as leader of the Nationals.
In a press conference on Friday, Joyce said he will step down as Deputy Prime Minister.
“On Monday morning in 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.”
Mr Joyce thanked his supporters, but implored the media to give his family some privacy.
“I’d like to say that it’s absolutely important that there be a circuit-breaker, not just for the parliament, but more importantly, a circuit-breaker for Vikki, for my unborn child, my daughters and for Nat. This has got to stop. It’s not fair on them. It’s just completely and utterly unwarranted, the sort of observation that’s happened.”
Mr Joyce’s decision to resign came from mounting internal pressure, after a string of stories broke centring on his affair with his staffer, his conduct at a 2011 awards ceremony and a separate allegation of sexual harassment.
According to the ABC, a sexual harassment complaint about Joyce was raised in a WA Nationals MPs meeting on Tuesday. In his press conference, Joyce said this was the “straw the broke the camel’s back”, but denied the allegation and said he had asked it be referred to WA police.
He has confirmed he will go the backbench.
Earlier this month, the Deputy PM was forced to issue a statement denying a report in the Daily Telegraph alleging in 2011 the then-Queensland Senator pinched a woman’s bottom after the Rural Women’s Agricultural Awards in Canberra.
The unidentified woman told the Daily Telegraph: “I went over to the bar and he was very, very drunk and nearly falling over.