Owen Paterson has decided to resign as the MP for North Shropshire, saying: “I will remain a public servant but outside the cruel world of politics.”

It comes after Boris Johnson promised MPs a fresh vote on Owen Paterson’s suspension for an alleged breach of lobbying rules “as soon as possible” after performing an extraordinary U-turn.

Facing widespread outrage, the Prime Minister backed down on plans to prevent the senior Conservative’s immediate suspension by launching a review of the entire disciplinary system.

Johnson was forced into a humiliating retreat after opposition parties refused to take part in a “corrupt” Tory-led committee tasked with the review.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson, Owen Paterson and the MPs facing standards probes

Owen Paterson statement in full

In a statement announcing his decision, Owen Paterson said: “I have today, after consultation with my family, and with much sadness decided to resign as the MP for North Shropshire.

“The last two years have been an indescribable nightmare for my family and me.

“My integrity, which I hold very dear, has been repeatedly and publicly questioned.

“I maintain that I am totally innocent of what I have been accused of and I acted at all times in the interests of public health and safety.

“I, my family and those closest to me know the same. I am unable to clear my name under the current system.

“Far, far worse than having my honesty questioned was, of course, the suicide of my beloved and wonderful wife, Rose.

“She was everything to my children and me. We miss her everyday and the world will always be grey, sad and ultimately meaningless without her.”

READ MORE: Owen Paterson is insignificant to the Tories – here's what this is really about

Paterson’s statement continued: “The last few days have been intolerable for us.

“Worst of all was seeing people, including MPs, publicly mock and deride Rose’s death and belittle our pain. My children have therefore asked me to leave politics altogether, for my sake as well as theirs.

“I agree with them. I do not want my wife’s memory and reputation to become a political football.

“Above all, I always put my family first.”

Paterson’s statement concluded: “This is a painful decision but I believe the right one.

“I have loved being the MP for North Shropshire and have considered it a privilege to have been elected to serve my constituents for 24 years.

“I would like to thank my staff who have worked for me so loyally over many years. I also want to thank those who have stood by me so staunchly.

“I wish them all the best in that difficult but vital job of being a Member of Parliament.

“I will remain a public servant but outside the cruel world of politics.

“I intend to devote myself to public service in whatever ways I can, but especially in the world of suicide prevention.

“At this incredibly difficult time for my family, we ask that the media respects our privacy and lets us grieve my beloved Rose, the best person I ever met.”

The former Cabinet minister said he would be making no further comments.

The National:

Commenting on Paterson MP's resignation, Pete Wishart MP said Johnson must now answer for his role in the scandal.

"The Prime Minister must perform a full U-turn, apologise to the Standards Commissioner, and commit to an independent inquiry into the growing problem of Tory sleaze, cronyism and corruption at the heart of the UK Government," the party's longest serving MP said.

"This Tory government is the sleaziest in decades. It has been beset by scandal after scandal - with the Prime Minister and his Tory colleagues guilty of breaking the ministerial code, acting unlawfully, handing peerages to donors, contracts to cronies and special access to their pals. The Owen Paterson affair is just the tip of the iceberg. It absolutely stinks."

He went on: "The shameful truth is that corrupt practices are endemic in the UK Parliament - and have been for decades under Tory and Labour governments. Westminster is the palace of sleaze - and it is broken beyond repair. The best option for Scotland is to become an independent country, and shake the broken Westminster system off for good."