Councillor saw Patrick Mercer as a 'very solid citizen'

Councillors in Patrick Mercer's constituency of Newark, where he has a 16,000 majority, have expressed their shock at the news of his resignation.

Councillor Peter Duncan said he always thought of Mr Mercer as "a very solid citizen".

He added: "If this news is true then I am shocked. I thought he was a very strong individual with a strong point of view. He will be missed."

Another Tory councillor Derek Evans said: "I'm very surprised at the news. I've a lot of trust and faith in Patrick. I have utter faith in him as an MP."

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Tory MP 'offered pass for cash'

Tory MP Patrick Mercer has been accused of breaking Parliamentary rules by tabling parliamentary questions for a fake lobby firm and offering a Commons pass in return for cash. Mercer said he was taking legal advice and will step down in 2015.