BY ISABEL EVERETT

Former Upper Hunter MP, Michael Johnsen has resigned from Parliament. 

Mr Johnsen was under pressure from both sides of politics to quit, after he was suspended from the Nationals Party following allegations he raped a sex worker in the Blue Mountains in 2019, which he strongly denies 

Fresh allegations emerged on Tuesday he offered to pay $1 thousand to woman to have sex with him in parliament.

The government threatened to expel him if he didn’t quit voluntarily. 

Deputy Premier John Barilaro says he welcomes Mr. Johnsen’s resignation.

“My message to the people of the Upper Hunter is I will always put integrity before politics, which is why I called for Mr. Johnsen’s resignation.”

“I want to say to the communities of the Upper Hunter that I am sorry, but please be assured the NSW Nationals’ focus has always been, and will always be, on delivering for the Upper Hunter and keeping our communities safe and secure.”

The State Government is unlikely to lose it’s majority vote in parliament, even if Mr. Johnsen’s former Upper Hunter seat falls to another party. 

Labor or the Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers Party could take the seat in the upcoming by-election. 

Mr. Johnsen’s resignation leaves the government in minority with only 46 of the 93 seats in the Legislative Assembly. 

But Independent Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper, says he’ll continue to vote with the Berejiklian government.

“As far as I’ve concerned nothing has changed, obviously the Government has got some pretty serious problems that they’re dealing with at the moment, but that doesn’t directly reflect on the ability of the current government to maintain running the State.”

“My support is primarily with for Gladys Berejiklian, not for the Government per se.”