Owen Paterson has decided to resign as the MP for North Shropshire following his lobbying scandal.
He said he would ‘remain a public servant but outside the cruel world of politics’ in a statement today.
It read: ‘The last two years have been an indescribable nightmare for my family and me.
‘My integrity, which I hold very dear, has been repeatedly and publicly questioned.
‘I maintain that I am totally innocent of what I have been accused of and I acted at all times in the interests of public health and safety.
‘I, my family and those closest to me know the same. I am unable to clear my name under the current system.
‘Far, far worse than having my honesty questioned was, of course, the suicide of my beloved and wonderful wife, Rose.
‘She was everything to my children and me. We miss her everyday and the world will always be grey, sad and ultimately meaningless without her.’
The statement continued: ‘The last few days have been intolerable for us.
‘Worst of all was seeing people, including MPs, publicly mock and deride Rose’s death and belittle our pain. My children have therefore asked me to leave politics altogether, for my sake as well as theirs.
‘I agree with them. I do not want my wife’s memory and reputation to become a political football. Above all, I always put my family first.’
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