Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is due to step down as the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader after his affair with his former staffer Vikki Campion, who is pregnant with his child, was made public, according to media reports.
Separately, the 50-year-old, who has a wife and two children, is facing a sexual harassment claim which was earlier received by the Nationals and which he slams as “spurious and defamatory.”
Joyce announced his decision on Friday, saying that he would stand down at a meeting of the Nationals in Canberra on Monday morning but that he would not resign from parliament.
“It is quite evident that you can’t go to the dispatch box while issues like that are surrounding you,” he said.
Citing a “litany of allegations” which he said hold no water, Joyce described the sexual harassment complaint as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“I don’t deserve the support that you’ve given me,” he noted referring to the people of his New England constituency and his supporters.
With a ballot to determine Deputy Prime Minister and the Nationals leader scheduled for 8pm on February 24, Michael McCormack, the Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defense Personnel, is already tipped to become a frontrunner.
Twitter users have, meanwhile, showed mixed reaction to the news about Joyce’s resignation. Some did mince words when expressing satisfaction about his stepping down.
An unsatisfactory chapter in Australian political history has ended with DPM @Barnaby_Joyce’s resignation. Hopefully his replacement is more progressive in the areas of animal welfare, energy and environment. It’s difficult to imagine them being any worse 👎👎👎 #auspol #nswpol
— Andrew Laird (@ReclaimAnglesea) 23 февраля 2018 г.
*** BREAKING NEWS ***
And there you have it. Barnaby Joyce will resign as Deputy PM and leader of the Nationals party, four months after our humble little crime site first broke the news of the various scandals surrounding him. Thank you to the support of our readers.#auspol pic.twitter.com/Y9nbyAcHIi
— True Crime News Weekly (@TrueCrimeWeekly) 23 февраля 2018 г.
Barnaby Joyce resigns at leader of Nationals, but still doesn’t get it, taking a swipe at everyone. Should keep going and resign as an MP too. He’s corrupt and a disgrace to the world of politics. #AUSPOL
— Eddy Jokovich (@EddyJokovich) 23 февраля 2018 г.
Standing down as deputy PM Barnaby Joyce & resigning as a minister is not enough. They have no regard for taxpayers when they use funds to cover up relationships creating promotions & bogus roles. They are not fit for parliament. #auspol #TheProjectTV
— Mark Dickenson The PM signed off on it! (@bugwannostra) 23 февраля 2018 г.
30 mins after Headline News of @Barnaby_Joyce, the MSM are up to their old lies.
1) Poor Barnaby & Vikki
2) @SharriMarkson broke the story. She did not.
3) Barnaby was a great retail Politician.
& sadly I’ve not heard a word about the real victims the Women he assaulted.#auspol
— MarkJacka (@themarkjacka) 23 февраля 2018 г.