Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is due to step down as the country's Deputy Prime Minister and the head of his party, now that it's become public that he is romantically involved with his former staffer Vikki Campion, who is now pregnant with his child, according to Australia's ABC News.
Separately, the 50-year-old, who has a wife and several children, is facing a sexual harassment claim which was earlier received by the Nationals and which he has flatly rejected 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, NSW constituency and his supporters.
With a ballot to determine the fate of the Deputy Prime Minister 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.
July 2, 2016: Barnaby Joyce re-elected— Simpsons vs Liberals (@SimpsonsVsLibs) 23 февраля 2018 г.
October 27, 2017: Barnaby Joyce disqualified under section 44, removed from parliament
December 2, 2017: Barnaby Joyce wins by-election, returns to parliament, returns as deputy PM
February 23, 2018: Barnaby Joyce resigns as deputy PM pic.twitter.com/zUTJY5PVXF
This is rubbish and a media invention. and they all know it. This was a pure hatchet job on Barnaby to attack the weak Malcolm Turnbull.— phoenixDownunder (@anoniphone) 23 февраля 2018 г.
The man has NOT had a rorting charge proven against him and therefore is guilty only by media. #BarnabyJoyce
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 ***— True Crime News Weekly (@TrueCrimeWeekly) 23 февраля 2018 г.
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
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.
BREAKING: Barnaby Joyce has resigned, saying he wants to spend more time with his families pic.twitter.com/sxR0BVdcRB— The Shovel (@TheShovel) 23 февраля 2018 г.
30 mins after Headline News of @Barnaby_Joyce, the MSM are up to their old lies.— MarkJacka (@themarkjacka) 23 февраля 2018 г.
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