Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce resigns following extramarital affair scandal

IT'S ON Hinkler MP Keith Pitt inset left and Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien inset right have spoken out about embattled Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce as a challenge looms for the Nationals leadership

Turnbull, who is in the United States for talks with President Donald Trump, issued a statement thanking Joyce for his service and for being a "fierce advocate for rural and regional Australia".

Speaking in Washington DC, Turnbull declined to publicly back Joyce, saying "leadership of the National party is a matter for the National party".

When the story of Mr Joyce's affair with his former media adviser, Vikki Campion, broke on February 7th, he initially seemed to have the support of his National Party colleagues.

"Lowering unemployment and stopping the needless deaths on the Bruce Highway are my priorities and I look forward to continuing to work with the party's new leader in pursuit of those and many other goals".

"I think Barnaby is a good man who is going through a rough time".

Joyce, who confirmed he will be stepping down as deputy prime minister, sent Twitter into a frenzy after repeatedly using a term it seems no one could understand.

"It's got to stop".

After hanging tough for more than a fortnight, Joyce said the final straw was the harassment allegation, by a Western Australian woman, that was made to the Nationals federal president Larry Anthony and revealed on Thursday.

Thanking his supporters, he said: "I don't deserve the support that you've given me".

The next Nationals leader, to be decided on Monday, will need to exchange letters with the prime minister committing to a new coalition agreement.

Turnbull called Joyce's actions a "shocking error of judgment", but he stopped short of directly calling for him to quit.

He was found in a series of controversies with the Turnbull Coalition government.

But it hasn't, so he's on the way out and will resign as leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister.

He had asked that the allegation, which he denies, be referred to the police.

"Might I say right here, any person in any political party always says, the leaking, the backgrounding, all that, it will destroy not only our government, it will destroy any government", he said at the press conference today.

He was forced out of Parliament a year ago and contested a byelection after discovering he was a dual New Zealand citizen and therefore had been constitutionally ineligible for election.

This partnership is undiminished and will continue to deliver opportunity and security for all Australians.

An avalanche of unfavourable yarns about the New England MP have made things very tough for him the past few days, so he chose to hang up his Deputy Prime Minister hat (but not his trusty Akubra, obviously).

Joyce's resignation will potentially heal the rift between the Liberal and National parties, a political alliance that has existed for almost 100 years.

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