Silvio Berlusconi resigns

Italy's controversial prime minister is best remembered in his own words

After years of scandal, Silvio Berlusconi finally bowed out of Italian politics last night as the Italian parliament voted to introduce austerity measures to deal with the country's severe debt crisis. Berlusconi was forced to leave the presidential residence through a side entrance as protestors chanted "buffoon" and a choir sang the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah to celebrate his departure. The former EU commissioner Mario Monti is expected to be nominated to lead Italy out of financial crisis.

As the 75-year-old, worth £5.6bn, leaves the political stage, it is worth remembering some of his more colourful recent statements:

In July 2011, he seemed to predict his fate in typically bullish terms: "In a few months... I'm leaving this shitty country of which I'm sickened."

Then on 13 August 2011, as he announced new austerity measures, he appeared aware of the gravity of the situation: "Our hearts are bleeding. This government had bragged that it never put its hands in the pockets of Italians but the world situation changed. We are facing the biggest global challenge."

But on 4 November, after the G20 summit, he insisted that "the life in Italy is the life of a wealthy country: consumptions haven't diminished, it's hard to find seats on planes, our restaurants are full of people."

Last night, as he drove away from the presidential palace and saw the amassed crowds celebrating his departure, he is reported to have said to his aides: "This is something that deeply saddens me."

For the New Statesman's top ten Berlusconi gaffes, click here.

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Labour MP Sarah Champion resigns over grooming gang piece in The Sun

The shadow equalities minister is standing down after her controversial article sparked accusations of racism.

Sarah Champion has resigned as shadow equalities minister over her incendiary article about grooming gangs in The Sun.

The Labour MP for Rotherham caused controversy by writing a piece about the Newcastle paedophile ring, which the tabloid headlined: "British Pakistanis ARE raping white girls... and we need to face up to it".

This sparked accusations of racism, including from figures in her own party. Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, wrote in the Independent“Such an incendiary headline and article is not only irresponsible but is also setting a very dangerous precedent and must be challenged.”

Champion initially tried to distance herself from how the article was framed, claiming that the opening paragraphs were edited and "stripped of nuance". The paper, however, said her team approved the piece and were "thrilled" with it.

In her resignation statement, Champion apologised for causing offence: “I apologise for the offence caused by the extremely poor choice of words in the Sun article on Friday. I am concerned that my continued position in the shadow cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire political career.”

“It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as shadow secretary of state for women and equalities.”

In a comment decrying The Sun's general Islamophobia-inciting coverage, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned against "attempts to brand communities or ethnic or religious groups, wittingly or unwittingly".

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.