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Tearful Lambie leaves parliament over British citizenship

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Jacqui Lambie has paid tribute to her father as she tearfully announced her resignation from the Senate after discovering her UK citizenship by descent.

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The Tasmanian senator asked the British Home Office for clarification of her status after Senate President Stephen Parry quit over citizenship doubts.

After the confirmation came back this morning, Lambie phoned her father – who arrived in Australia from Scotland as a child – to tell him, and hours later made her announcement in a six-minute speech to parliament.

“It is with great regret that I have to inform you that I had been found ineligible by way of dual citizenship,” Lambie said.

“I love my father to death and hope to not blame him for this. He has done nothing for which to apologise and he has been my strongest supporter, my loudest cheer squad and my closest adviser.”

Lambie said she had worked hard to be voice for veterans, people on welfare and pensioners.

She did not know what her next step would be but in the short term she would be helping her Jacqui Lambie Network win seats in the Tasmanian state election.

The outgoing crossbencher warned the Turnbull Government against using her absence as an “opportunity” to pass legislation which she opposed.

“To do so would be a mistake,” she said.

Her replacement is expected to be the next Jacqui Lambie Network candidate on the 2016 ticket, Devonport mayor Steve Martin.

However, Mr Martin’s position as mayor could render him ineligible under section 44 of the constitution, which disqualifies anyone with an “office of profit under the crown”.

It’s been speculated Lambie may run for the Tasmanian federal seat of Braddon if Labor MP Justine Keay is forced to a by-election due to her citizenship problems.

She earlier told ABC radio she would have a “good look at it”.

Senator Lambie entered parliament after the 2013 election representing Clive Palmer’s now defunct party before quitting to sit as an independent the following year.

She said the decision was the right one.

“That’s really worked in my favour – there’s no way that if I was still running under that banner … I’d be finished today,” she said.

She ran under her own team banner – The Jacqui Lambie Network – successfully at last year’s double-dissolution election to return to Canberra.

– AAP

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