Nationals party MP Barnaby Joyce reflects after his failed bid to become leader of the National Party (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Nationals party MP Barnaby Joyce reflects after his failed bid to become leader of the National Party (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Nats leader saved from noisy neighbour Barnaby

THE electorate's noisy neighbour has failed in his bid to become deputy Prime-Minister as the Nationals party room votes to maintain the status quo.

New England MP Barnaby Joyce's attempt to wrest the National Party leadership from Michael McCormack fell flat yesterday, as a majority of the party swung in behind the Riverina MP.

The spill was brought on by backers of Mr Joyce who saw an opportunity after Bridget McKenzie resigned from her position as deputy leader, triggering a leadership vote at the start of the parliamentary term.

Ms McKenzie fell on her sword after an internal report by the Prime Minister's department found she had breached ministerial standards following the 'sports rorts' scandal.

Following the meeting Page MP Kevin Hogan said he welcomed the endorsement of Mr McCormack as Nationals leader as well as the election of David Littleproud as his deputy.

"There was much good will at the conclusion of the party room meeting and we are looking forward to getting on with our job," he said.

"The primary focus this week is the ongoing support for those affected by drought and fire."

Mr Hogan had remained tight-lipped in the lead-up to the spill, declining to comment on the looming battle except for a statement on Monday which could have been interpreted as his intention to back the incumbent party leader.

"The only vacancy is for Deputy Leader and this I believe is the only vote that should happen," he said.

There was certainly no repeat of the bold statements made in the days before the 2018 Liberal leadership spill that spelled the end of Malcolm Turnbull's career, when an exasperated Mr Hogan threatened to move to the cross bench if there was a challenge.

At the time the Lismore- based MP said treating the office of Prime Minister as a "revolving door" had to stop, staying true to his word and moving to the cross bench where he stayed until the Coalition's re-election at the start of 2019.

But this time Mr Hogan resisted firing off any warnings about respecting the position of Deputy Prime Minister.