State independent Richard Torbay has resigned from the NSW parliament after being forced to quit as the Nationals candidate for New England over links with the former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid.
The Speaker, Shelley Hancock, confirmed on Wednesday morning that Mr Torbay has tendered his resignation, effective immediately.
"I received [the resignation] this morning faxed to me at 10.15," Ms Hancock said.
She said the leader of the house, Brad Hazzard, would move a motion in the parliament today that Mr Torbay's seat be declared vacant, sparking a by-election in the seat of Northern Tablelands.
In a statement, Mr Torbay said he had always intended to leave NSW parliament this year but had ‘‘brought it forward’’.
“I have enjoyed my years in public life serving the communities of the Northern Tablelands,’’ he said. “Their support for me has been overwhelming and heart-warming and I thank them for it.
“We have achieved some great things together and I will always cherish the friendships I have made and the interaction I have had with people during my time as MP.”
He said the ‘‘downside’’ of politics was the strain on his family.
“It is demanding and time consuming to do the job properly and given the events of recent days and the toll it has taken on my family I feel the time has come to consider other options,” Mr Torbay said. “My wife Rosemary, my children and my extended family have always been extremely supportive during my time in politics.
“They are my priority and I strongly believe that now is the time for them and they have encouraged me to make this decision.”
Mr Torbay also has stood down immediately from his role as the chancellor of Armidale's University of New England. He previously announced he would step down on April 19 but has decided to bring that date forward.
A new chancellor will be elected at Armidale Dumaresq Council's meeting on April 18, as originally planned.