Jamie Briggs quits Turnbull government following incident in Hong Kong bar

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 21: Cities and Built Environment Minister Jamie Briggs is sworn in by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove during the swearing-in ceremony of the new Turnbull Government at Government House on September 21, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a new look front bench on Sunday. (Photo by Stefan Postles – Pool/Getty Images)

Australia’s minister for cities and the built environment, Jamie Briggs, has resigned from Malcolm Turnbull’s government following an “incident” involving a female public servant in a bar during an official visit to Hong Kong.

Briggs announced his resignation today, with immediate effect.

Here’s how he explained the situation in a statement released today:

“At the conclusion of the dinner (which I paid for personally) we went to a popular and as it transpired very crowded bar for drinks during which we interacted between the three of us and with others in what I believed, at the time, was an informal manner,” Briggs said.

“At no point was it my intention to act inappropriately and I’m obliged to note for the record that nothing illegal has been alleged or in fact did occur.

“However, in the days following the evening, the public servant concerned raised concerns about the appropriateness of my behaviour towards her at the venue.

“I’ve apologised directly to her but after careful reflection about the concerns she raised and the fact that I was at a bar late at night while on an overseas visit I have concluded this behaviour has not met the particularly high standards for ministers.”

Briggs joined cabinet earlier this year following Turnbull’s reshuffle after his previous position as assistant minister for infrastructure.

A day after the leadership spill, he was photographed injured in a wheelchair as he arrived at a party room meeting at Parliament House in Canberra.

Briggs initially denied claims that he had sustained injuries during a farewell party for former prime minister Tony Abbott where an Italian marble table was damaged during the course of the evening.

He said that he had hurt his leg whilst running but later confessed that he had injured his knee whilst trying to tackle Abbott during the party.

The special minister of state and minister for defence material and science, Mal Brough, has also stood aside from his role as investigations by the police continue into his alleged copying of former speaker Peter Slipper’s diary in 2012.

A ministerial reshuffle is expected following the incidents today.

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