The NSW government will suspend MP Gareth Ward on charges of sexual assault

The NSW government will move tomorrow to suspend independent MP Gareth Ward from parliament until his allegations of sexual assault have been heard in court.

Acting Prime Minister Paul Toole indicated he would move the proposal in the House of Commons after the former Liberal frontbencher opposed calls for his resignation.

Ward was yesterday charged with indecent assault on a 17-year-old boy on Meroo Meadow in his Kiama constituency in February 2013 and for sexually assaulting a 27-year-old man in Sydney in September 2015.

The charges include one charge of having had intercourse without consent.

In a statement issued yesterday, the member insisted for Kiama that he was innocent of the charges.

Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet interrupted his paternity leave to indicate that he would seek Mr Ward’s immediate resignation from Parliament.

“While Ward is entitled to the presumption of innocence that every citizen is, the standards expected of an elected member of parliament are not compatible with the seriousness of the charges he faces,” Perrottet said.

Ward resigned from the ministry and moved to the table in May last year after it was revealed he was being investigated by police.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that he had written to the Liberal Party’s State Director requesting that Mr Ward be suspended from the party until the outcome of the case.

Ward said in his statement yesterday that he was looking forward to clearing his name.

“While others have already tried to prosecute my case in the media instead of the courts, out of respect for our judicial system, I will not do the same.

“I will therefore not comment further at this time.”

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