Garry Edwards, the member for Swansea, south of Newcastle, has become the 9th Liberal casualty of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation into illegal donations in the Hunter Valley and Central Coast regions during the lead up to the 2011 state election.
Eight state MPs, plus federal senator Arthur Sinodinos have stood aside or resigned since Operation Spicer, an investigation into banned donations from property developers, began.
Edwards announced he would stand aside from the Liberal Party and sit on the cross bench, just as his colleagues Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwel did last week, before being forced to resign from Parliament on Tuesday.
Edwards issued a statement saying “I look forward to an early opportunity to clear my name.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy, the man instrumental to the downfall of the MPs after giving thousands of dollars in cash to Liberal candidates in his Bentley, gave evidence to the ICAC today saying he felt “like a walking ATM sometimes”.
He implicated Edwards in that largesse for the first time, leading to the MP standing aside.
McCloy said he gave Edwards around $1800 in cash from his wallet before the 2011 state election.
Fairfax has more details here.
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