SHAMED MP Owen Paterson has resigned from his position in Westminster following a probe into paid lobbying.

The MP was found to have committed an "egregious breach" of the rules when he received £100,000 a year acting as a consultant for two firms. He then lobbied the Government on behalf of the firms, and conducted business meetings in his parliamentary office. 

Mr Paterson has denied he has done anythign wrong and criticised the disciplinary process.

He also blamed the investigation for contributing to the death of his wife Rose, who took her own life.

In a statement announcing his decision, Mr Paterson said: “I have today, after consultation with my family, and with much sadness decided to resign as the MP for North Shropshire.

“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 former MP accused other politicians of mocking his wife's death, and said: "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.”

Mr Paterson’s statement concluded: “This is a painful decision but I believe the right one.

“I have loved being the MP for North Shropshire and have considered it a privilege to have been elected to serve my constituents for 24 years.

“I would like to thank my staff who have worked for me so loyally over many years. I also want to thank those who have stood by me so staunchly.

“I wish them all the best in that difficult but vital job of being a Member of Parliament.

“I will remain a public servant but outside the cruel world of politics.

“I intend to devote myself to public service in whatever ways I can, but especially in the world of suicide prevention.

“At this incredibly difficult time for my family, we ask that the media respects our privacy and lets us grieve my beloved Rose, the best person I ever met.”

The former Cabinet minister said he would be making no further comments.

Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats said that Mr Paterson had done the "honorable thing" by stepping down.

He said: "It is a change of heart from Owen Paterson, because he said he was going to try to clear his name.

"I think it sounds like he has done the honorable thing, perhaps he should have done it sooner."

Keir Starmer, Labour leader, said Boris Johnson must apologise for the saga, which saw his party try to change the rules to ensure Mr Paterson did not face punishment.

They were forced to u-turn on the plans this morning. 

Sir Keir said: "This has been an unbelievable 24 hours even by this government's chaotic standards. Only yesterday Boris Johnson was forcing his MPs to rip up the rules on standards in public life is a truly damning indictment of this Prime Minister and the corrupt government he leads.

"Boris Johnson must now apologise to the entire country for this grubby attempt to cover up for the misdemeanour of his friend. This isn't the first time he's done this but it must be the last. And Boris Johnson must explain how he intends to fix the immense harm he has done to confidence in the probity of him and his MPs.”