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Personal Statement

Volume 542: debated on Monday 12 March 2012

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Hon. Members will be aware of the events in the Strangers Bar on 22 February, during which the standard of my conduct fell egregiously below what is required of a Member of this House or, indeed, of anyone, anywhere. I am grateful for this opportunity to apologise without reservation to the House, and, in particular, to the hon. Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew), my hon. Friend the Member for Sedgefield (Phil Wilson), the hon. Members for Brigg and Goole (Andrew Percy), for Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke) and for Thurrock (Jackie Doyle-Price), Councillors Luke Mackenzie and Ben Maney, police officers on the night and, indeed, everyone else affected by my actions that evening; clearly that will not be an exhaustive list. They have all shown considerable grace in their public comment, for which I am very grateful. I do, of course, have other apologies to make, including to my constituents, and I will take other opportunities outside this place to do so at greater length.

Sir, I would like to express my thanks to Members on both sides of the House, and indeed the other place, who have contacted me to express concern, however undeserved it is on my part. Clearly, I have a number of personal issues to address and you can be assured that this will take place. In the meantime, Members will know that certain short-term constraints have been quite rightly placed on me by the court. I will, of course, observe them strictly within the parliamentary precincts as well as elsewhere.

I would also like to inform the House that I have today tendered my resignation as a member of the Labour party to my party leader. Thank you, Sir.