Read Senator Duffy's statement

Senator Mike Duffy issued the following statement Thursday night announcing he is stepping outside of the Conservative caucus amid controversy over his living and travel expense claims.
Senator Mike Duffy has announced he is stepping outside of the Conservative caucus amid controversy over his living and travel expense claims. (Devaan Ingraham/Canadian Press)

Senator Mike Duffy issued the following statement Thursday night announcing he is stepping outside of the Conservative caucus amid controversy over his living and travel expense claims:

"It is clear the public controversy surrounding me and the repayment of my Senate expenses has become a significant distraction to my caucus colleagues, and to the government.  

Given that my presence within the Conservative caucus only contributes to that distraction, I have decided to step outside of the caucus and sit as an independent Senator pending resolution of these questions.

"Throughout this entire situation I have sought only to do the right thing. I look forward to all relevant facts being made clear in due course, at which point I am hopeful I will be able to rejoin the Conservative caucus.

"This has been a difficult time for me and my family, and we are going to take some time away from the public. I ask the media to respect our privacy while these questions are resolved through the appropriate processes."