Peter Slipper, Speaker of the Australian Federal Parliament has resigned tonight after narrowly surviving a confidence vote earlier today. The Australian reports:
AFTER a day of high drama, an emotional Peter Slipper this evening tendered his resignation as Speaker.
Speculation is mounting in Parliament House that the Speaker will resign after surviving a vote of no confidence earlier today by just one vote.
The Speaker went into Parliament just after 7pm this evening and reported with "great sadness" he should not continue as Speaker. This came after earlier surviving a vote to remove him as Speaker by one vote.
A highly emotional Speaker, in terms, said he was tendering his resignation to the Governor-General.
Mr Slipper said that despite the one-vote victory fending off his removal earlier this afternoon he deemed it best to resign.
Expressing great sadness and frustration at an inability to introduce Parliamentary reforms he wanted.
"The importance of the role Speaker in the House of Representaives is far greater than my own role," Mr Slipper said.
Earlier this evening, Mr Slipper apologised unreservedly for offensive text messages after surviving a dramatic opposition attempt to remove him from his post.
In a statement, the stood-aside speaker said the texts to former staffer James Ashby, which make derogatory references about women, could not be excused.
However, he said the messages, which emerged in evidence to the Federal Court, had not been intended for public release.
"It was intended at the time that the text messages be private between Mr Ashby and me," Mr Slipper said.
It has been a sensational day in Canberra as this story has taken on a life of its own. There will doubtless be plenty of column centimeters devoted to Peter Slipper's resignation and the verbal stoush between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.
More follows in the morning...