O'Brien: 'No-one trying to stab Deputy PM in the back'
SPECULATION of a National Party leadership spill has been hosed down by Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien, who has denied anyone has a knife out for Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.
While noise has grown over the past 48 hours of a push to return ex-Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to the role he vacated in February, Mr O'Brien said any rumblings were not coming from within the party.
"There are healthy competitive tensions that exist in any political party...you hope they serve to create good policy and have us achieving things.
"But is someone trying to stab someone else in the back? No."
He pointed to the upcoming Wentworth by-election as the reason the speculation has sparked.
"Things get amplified in the environment of a by-election that the majority of the government hinges on.
"For that reason, our opposition are making merry hell out of something that hasn't been talked about - unless questioned - by any of my colleagues," he said.
Having slammed some politicians for "getting lost in their own self-importance and B.S" ahead of the Liberal Party spill which toppled Malcolm Turnbull in August, Mr O'Brien said he will not hesitate to level the same criticism again if needed.
"If I think there's any grandstanding or ego-stroking going on I'll certainly call that out," he said.
"As it stands today, no MP has come out and criticised the leader. My biggest priority is to ensure the Wide Bay...is looked after."
And of the speculation Queensland MPs who back Mr Joyce are counting support numbers?
"No-one's rung me, and I haven't rung anyone.
"These are the sorts of statements that are getting out there and are not coming from any MP.
"No-one's put their name to that statement," he said.
Mr Joyce resigned from the Nationals leadership over the fallout from his affair with Vikki Campion, a former staffer and current partner, and allegations of sexual harassment.
He has denied the allegation, and an investigation into the claims ended with the party reportedly unable to make any determination about their validity.
Amid the speculation Sportsbet has given the odds of a spill ahead of the next election as $1.25.
The odds of it not happening are $4.