05/08/2008 - 15:26

Barnett to try again as Libs leader

05/08/2008 - 15:26

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Colin Barnett has raised his hand for another tilt at the Liberal Party leadership but first has to find an electorate after Deidre Willmott said she wanted to continue as the endorsed candidate for his seat of Cottesloe.

Barnett to try again as Libs leader

Colin Barnett has raised his hand for another tilt at the Liberal Party leadership but first has to find an electorate after Deidre Willmott said she wanted to continue as the endorsed candidate for his seat of Cottesloe.

Mr Barnett is expected to take the leadership reins tomorrow when the state Liberal Party meets to elect a new leader following Troy Buswell's surprise resignation yesterday.

Ms Willmott, former policy director for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA, told WA Business News last night that she intends to continue as the endorsed Liberal Party candidate for Cottesloe.

She said many people had contacted her during the past 24 hours and urged her to remain as the endorsed Liberal candidate. This feedback had encouraged her to harden her resolve.

She said that if Liberal MPs voted for Mr Barnett to be the next leader, than it was up to the party to find an electorate for him.

Ms Willmott agreed to be endorsed as the Liberal candidate on the expectation that Mr Barnett would retire at the next election.

Mr Barnett, who spoke to both Ms Willmott and Mr Buswell last week, could not say today whether Ms Willmott would be given another seat.

"Can I just say I alerted Deidre to the fact that there was a possibility that Troy might step down as leader," Mr Barnett told reporters today.

"Look I don't feel guilty, I feel concerned for Deidre Willmott.

"She has a strong political ambition, she would be a very, very fine member of parliament and I would love to see Deidre as a member of parliament.

"We have got a very unusual situation in the Liberal Party to deal with and its up to the Liberals, not myself, it's up to the party to discuss that with Deidre and hopefully resolve it."

Mr Barnett dodged questions as to whether he would remain the member for Cottesloe if he won the Liberal leadership and failed to win government at the coming election, which must be called before May 2 next year.

"If it's a case that the Labor Party is returned [to government], and I sincerely am not working on that basis, than that is a question that I will think about at the time," Mr Barnett said.

"At the moment I am standing tomorrow as Liberal leader for one purpose; to lead the Liberal party into an election to provide good government for the people of Western Australia."

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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