‘I stuffed up’: NSW Premier refuses to resign over relationship with disgraced ex-MP

Gladys Berejikilan says she “stuffed up” following revelations of a personal relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire — but she intends to continue in her role as NSW Premier.In evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) today, the Premier revealed she was in a relationship with Mr Maguire from 2015 until a few months ago.Ms Berejiklian said she made a mistake and would not have made the same decisions, if she knew then what she knows now.She said she felt let down by Mr Maguire, having “trusted him for a long time”.Mr Maguire, who was forced to resign as Liberal MP for Wagga Wagga in 2018, is under investigation by the ICAC for allegedly using his political influence in business deals.Ms Berejiklian said today had been “hands down … one of the most difficult days of my life”.”I’m an extremely private person and without question I stuffed up in my personal life and I accept that,” she said in a media conference following her bombshell evidence at ICAC.She said not even her family had been aware of her relationship with Mr Maguire.”It’s very difficult for someone in my position to have a private and a personal life and I’m very upset with what’s transpired.”The ICAC today heard telephone conversations between Ms Berejiklian and Mr Maguire, including details about Mr Maguire’s financial position.Ms Berejiklian agreed Mr Maguire told her in 2017 that he had about $1.5 million debt but rejected any suggestion she would have benefited from him being in a better financial position.”I’m an independent woman who is proud of her independence and anybody else’s finances would be completely immaterial to me,” she told ICAC.Ms Berejiklian told the inquiry she last spoke to Mr Maguire a month ago.”When I was asked to support this inquiry it became apparent to me that I should have absolutely no contact anymore and I ceased all contact,” Ms Berejiklian told the inquiry.NSW Opposition Leader Jodi McKay said Ms Berejiklian was “an absolute fraud” and that she had “no choice but to resign”.”She cannot possibly stay as the Premier of this state, given the extraordinary evidence that has been given to the Independent Commission Against Corruption today.”I don’t think anyone in NSW can have confidence in her — she’s an absolute fraud.”More to come.

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