NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley will not run for re-election after being accused of groping a journalist.
Mr Foley resigned his leadership of the parliamentary Labor Party yesterday but said he would stay on as the member for Auburn in Sydney’s west.
But he has just contacted the NSW Labor Party head office to withdraw his candidacy for his seat.
“Overnight and today I have had time to reflect and talk to my family and colleagues,” Mr Foley wrote in his resignation letter.
“I will not be contesting the next election, and seek permission to resign my endorsement as the candidate for Auburn.
“The Party must focus on the election which is at hand. I do not want to be a distraction.”
His withdrawal comes as the frontrunner for the top job, Michael Daley, called for him to step down.
“Frankly if I’m the leader of the Labor Party, I don’t want him sitting in our ranks,” Mr Daley told Sky News.
Mr Foley strongly denied the allegations made against him and declared his intention to sue the ABC.
ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper is the alleged victim of Mr Foley.
Yesterday, Raper released a damning statement about the allegations, claiming it was time to “set the record straight” after months of rumours dogged state parliament.
“Later in the evening, Luke Foley approached a group of people, including me, to say goodnight,” she said in the statement.
“He stood next to me. He put his hand through a gap in the back of my dress and inside my underpants.
“He rested his hand on my buttocks. I completely froze.”
Hours later, at a media conference at NSW parliament, Foley held a press conference in which he denied the allegations made by Raper and resigned from his position.
“This first thing I’d like to say, the allegations made against me today make public by the ABC are false,” he said.
“I’ve retained solicitors and senior counsel to advise on the immediate commencement of defamation proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia.
“However, I can’t fight to clear my name and fight an election at the same time. It’s just not possible to do both.
“Therefore, I’m resigning the leadership of the Labor Party. This will enable a new leader to give his or her full attention to the task of defeating the Liberal-National government.”
Mr Daley will compete for the role of Opposition Leader with Kogarah MP Chris Minns.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018