Newcastle MP Tim Owen has become the latest state Liberal to fall on his sword over revelations that donations from developers were illegally channelled into his 2011 election campaign.
A clearly emotional Mr Owen fronted the media in Newcastle on Monday, saying that, while he would not resign immediately, he would not contest the 2015 election because it "appears highly likely" that prohibited donors "did contribute in some way to my election campaign" without his knowledge.
Mr Owen said the revelations had "made me feel undermined and very sad".
"I want to say this clearly to the people of Newcastle," he said.
"I had no knowledge whatsoever of any funding irregularities in my campaign. However, it appears that it is highly likely that prohibited donors did contribute in some way to my election campaign. I am extremely angry."
Mr Owen was referring to evidence provided to the ICAC last week which alleged that "under-the-table" donations to his campaign were made to "sham" public relations company EightByFive by the Nathan Tinkler-backed Buildev development company.
Mr Owen refused to answer further questions at Monday’s press conference, and avoided earlier questions about who knew of, or facilitated, the Buildev donations to his campaign.
He also said that "recurring health issues" had contributed to his decision, but refused to elaborate.
"As I have reflected over recent days, it has become clear to me that my vision for Newcastle has never wavered and nor has my support for all of the citizens of our community," he said.
"Over the past three years, we Coalition MPs in the Hunter have worked as a team for the betterment of the region and for Newcastle in particular.
"Personally, I have given my heart and soul to Newcastle and its wonderful people and to the changes we are making in our great city. These projects will benefit Newcastle far beyond our lifetimes. It will be a wonderful legacy.
"What we need more than ever now is a leader with integrity and I know we have that in spades in our Premier Mike Baird."
The story Newcastle Liberal MP Tim Owen says he will not contest next election first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.