Michael Palmer resigns from PAP and Parliament over an improper relationship

Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer has resigned from the People's Action Party and as MP for Punggol East SMC. 

He made the announcement at a news conference today held at the People's Action Party headquarters. 

Mr Palmer had an improper relationship with a staff member of the People's Association. 

"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 judgement. I have resigned in order to avoid further embarrassment to the PAP and to Parliament." 

Mr Palmer said he has performed his duties as Speaker and MP to the best of his ability. 

And that his actions did not affect the performance of those duties. 

Mr Palmer said he is also deeply sorry for letting down his residents, the PAP and everyone who has believed and supported him. 

"I apologise unreservedly to them and to my family. May I humbly request you be kind enough to respect my family's privacy during this very difficult time."

The staff member who was working in the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC has also resigned. 

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is PAP's 1st Assistant Secretary-General, said the party first came to know about the matter on 8 December.

Mr Teo said Mr Palmer had personally met him to inform him about the matter and of his intention to resign. 

Mr Teo agreed that he should do so. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was informed and he agreed that the resignation would be the proper thing to do.

Mr Teo said Mr Lee met Mr Palmer on Sunday morning and confirmed the decision. 

Mr Lee directed that the matter be dealt decisively and in an open way. 

Mr Teo said in the last two days, arrangements were being made to ensure that residents of Punggol East continue to be taken care of and the transition is done in proper and legal administrative and procedures.

Mr Teo said he has worked with Mr Palmer for more than 6 years and that he is a hardworking and good MP, who is always caring for his residents and is a good team player.

Deputy Prime Minister, Teo Chee Hean. 

"When he saw me on Saturday, he was very sorry for what he had done. I told him to look after his family and to do what he could to make up for the hurt that he has caused them. I told him that I would make arrangements so that the residents in Punggol East continue to be looked after."

"On behalf of the party and of myself, I will like to say to the residents of Punggol East, I am very sorry that we have let the residents of Punggol East down. I assure you that we would put things right and that we will continue to look after you." 

Mr Teo said Minister of State Teo Ser Luck has been asked to oversee Punggol East Constituency. While Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari will be appointed as the new chairman of the Pasir Ris-Punggol town council. 

Mr Teo said he too will take a personal interest in the welfare of residents of Punggol East. 

Mr Teo said the Prime Minister will nominate a new Speaker of Parliament when Parliament next meets. 

In the meantime, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mr Charles Chong who is the Acting Speaker will continue in this role. 

On the possibility of a by-election, Mr Teo said the Prime Minister will decide if there should be one and when it will take place.