Crime chief quits Labour party following damning report into child abuse in Rotherham
South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright said tonight he had resigned from the Labour Party, but insisted he would not leave his post.
Labour had threatened to suspend Mr Wright in the morning if he had refused to step down in the wake of a damning report into child abuse in Rotherham.
Mr Wright has faced repeated calls for his resignation because he was the Rotherham Council cabinet member for children's services between 2005 and 2010.
But in a late night statement he said: "I formally tender my resignation from the Labour Party. However, I remain committed to, and intend to remain in, my role as an Independent Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire."
Mr Wright defended a two-decade record in public service and insisted protecting vulnerable people was his number one priority as commissioner, a post to which he was elected in 2012.
His statement, posted on the official website of the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, said: "I have had to make the difficult decision to stand down from the Labour Party and it's with deep regret that I've come to that decision.
"I've dedicated my career and life to serving the public of South Yorkshire. As a father, and a citizen of South Yorkshire, my thoughts are with the victims and their families and I reiterate my apology to them and take full responsibility for my part in the collective failures which took place at Rotherham Council during the time I was in office and indeed to that end I resigned in 2010.
"I stand by my earlier comments that I've taken that experience to deliver a major transformation in the way South Yorkshire Police deals with horrific crimes such as child sexual exploitation, and much progress has been made since I was elected as commissioner in terms of supporting victims, taking preventive action, increasing awareness of the issue and bringing criminals to justice.
"I was elected to deliver the people's policing and crime priorities in South Yorkshire and I intend to see that duty through by leading the force on that urgent, and fundamental, journey of improvement for the sake of past, present and potential victims, who are the most important people in all of this."