Singapore Parliament Speaker resigns over extramarital affair

Corporate affair

The Speaker of Singapore's Parliament resigned today after admitting to an extramarital affair, the latest high-profile sex scandal to surface in the city-state.

Michael Palmer, 44, a married father of one who was sworn in as Speaker in October 2011, also quit his seat in parliament and membership of the ruling People's Action Party.

Media reports said Palmer had an affair with a staff member working in the constituency office. The staff member also resigned.

Addressing a press conference after his resignation, Palmer said: "I have resigned to avoid further embarrassment. I have to take full responsibility for the grave mistake."

"My conduct was improper and it was a serious error of judgement. I have resigned in order to avoid further embarrassment to the PAP (People's Action Party) and to Parliament," Palmer said.

The resignation is the latest high-profile case involving an affair in the city following the prosecution of former heads of the anti-drug agency and Civil Defence Force, for allegedly accepting sexual favours from female executives seeking contracts.

More than 40 people, including a former bank executive and a school principal were charged in a scandal earlier this year involving a minor selling sex to men.

Palmer is the first high ranking parliamentarian from Singapore's ruling People's Action Party to have resigned in recent years for being involved in extramarital affair.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Charles Chong would serve as Acting Speaker.

Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong would decide on the by-election of the parliamentary seat for the Punggol East constituency, which felt vacant after Palmer's resignation.

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