22 Apr 2012

Australia's Speaker stands aside

9:09 pm on 22 April 2012

The Australian federal MP Peter Slipper has sought to quell a political storm by stepping down as Speaker of the House of Representatives until an allegation of criminal behaviour against him is resolved.

Mr Slipper returned to Australia from the United States on Sunday amid opposition calls for his resignation.

There are allegations he misused taxi dockets and also sexually harassed a former close aide.

Mr Slipper says he emphatically denies the allegations.

He defected from the coalition late last year to become Speaker in a move engineered by prime minister Julia Gillard.

His standing aside is unlikely to threaten Labor's hold on minority government.