The leader of junior government partner Popular Alternative (AP), affirmed he won’t be running in Italy’s next general election, due by March 2018, and won’t take on the role of a minister.

Mr Alfano said "unfair attacks” on him had influenced his decision, referring to claims he was overly attached to his position.

Speaking on Italian TV, Mr Alfano went on to say that he was “leaving parliament but not politics”.

“You can do politics outside parliament and I will take back a piece of my life and my family,” he said.

“My wife is enthusiastic.”

Meanwhile, Mr Alfano’s AP is undecided about whether to go it alone in the general election or continue to back the government coalition with the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).

The party has slid to under 2 per cent in the polls recently.