The Speaker of Parliament in Singapore has resigned over an extramarital affair. This is unusual. I can’t recall the Speaker of the legislature resigning in America, Britain or India in similar circumstances.
The Speaker, Michael Palmer, MP for Punggol East and a member of the ruling People’s Action Party, also gave up his parliamentary seat and his party membership.
In a statement today, he said: “I have resigned to take full responsibility for a grave mistake that I have committed. I had a relationship with a member of the People’s Association staff working in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. While the individual did not work with me directly, Punggol East used to be part of the GRC and continues to work with it. My conduct was improper and it was a serious error of judgment.”
“I have resigned in order to avoid further embarrassment to the PAP and to Parliament.”
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was at the press conference, said the PAP first came to know about the matter on Saturday, Dec 8, and Palmer offered his resignation that night.
Palmer said: “I am deeply sorry for letting down the residents of Punggol East, the PAP and everyone who as believed in me and supported me. I apologize unreservedly to them, and to my family.”
“I humbly request that you be kind enough to respect my family’s privacy during this difficult period. Thank you.”
Palmer was the eighth speaker of Parliament and was elected in October 2011 for the position.