BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A member of Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s leadership team has stepped down.

Rep. Charles Murphy, a Burlington Democrat, says he resigned his post as majority whip to avoid a potentially divisive vote on his removal at a closed-door Democratic caucus on Tuesday.

DeLeo had been expected to move to oust Murphy after the one-time chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee made remarks to other lawmakers about who might succeed DeLeo as speaker.

Murphy denied being disloyal to the speaker but did not back down from the earlier comments. He said he didn’t want to put other Democrats into the uncomfortable position of voting on his future.

“Historically, the current speaker wants to pass the gavel to the next person to try and make a seamless transition, that’s the goal,” Rep. Murphy told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones. “I’m clearly not the person he’s going to be passing that gavel to so I’m simply having conversations about the future to put myself in that mix. And that, I would suggest, led to my demise.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

Murphy will remain a member of the House and says he plans to continue discussing the future of his party with fellow Democrats.

DeLeo named Rep. Byron Rushing of Boston as the new majority whip.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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