Barnaby Joyce digs in while Nationals debate forcing him out

Barnaby Joyce digs in while Nationals debate forcing him out

After apologising to his wife Natalie, four daughters and his former media adviser yesterday, Mr Joyce expressed "regret" at a meeting of Government MPs that his personal life had spilled into the public domain.

"There's no leadership to be resolved".

Mr O'Dowd said he did not know who was in the delegation but believed it should be a few MPs.

David Littleproud is one of Mr Joyce's strongest allies, especially after being promoted to Cabinet from the backbench last December.

Mr Littleproud said Mr Joyce had done nothing wrong, according to the law, and his critics needed to "put up or shut up".

Nationals president Larry Anthony is in Canberra to deal with the crisis, which he called a "very hard time" for the party.

Asked whether Joyce continued to enjoy the support of a majority of the Nationals party room, Littleproud said: "Yes, of course he does".

Backbencher George Christensen said only a small number of his colleagues wanted Mr Joyce to step aside as leader, and said they did not have the numbers to succeed.

"I am not interested in talking about that, people get sick and exhausted of hearing about these internal games".

"When Mr Canavan stood down over the citizenship issue she went to work for another MP and subsequently left the Nationals staff following the most recent reshuffle".

Nationals Deputy Leader Bridget McKenzie, who had so far not commented on the speculations surrounding Mr Joyce, today said he would "absolutely" remain the party leader and still has the "full support" of his party.

Labor however is continuing to put pressure on the Deputy PM, today announcing they will demand the production of documents that detail any "special goal flights" and worldwide trips taken by Mr Joyce and Ms Campion in 2017.

"I'll give you my solid, rolled-gold guarantee here that come tomorrow, come Friday Barnaby Joyce will be leading the National party", Ms McKenzie told Sky News. It is without a shadow of a doubt that Vikki Campion is my partner now, but when she worked in my office, she was not my partner.

Mr O'Dowd did not return calls or emails yesterday. "A lot of capable guys there and, if it come to the point, we would find a good leader, I feel sure about that".

In Parliament, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was asked to clarify the definition of "partner" under the ministerial code of conduct, which he said was "essentially a cohabitation, a marriage-like relationship".

The deputy Liberal leader and foreign minister, Julie Bishop, signalled on Wednesday morning she would be available to act in that role should "circumstances change".

"No I haven't", he told reporters in Canberra.

While Ms Landry is strongly defending Mr Joyce to stay on as leader, she indicated he might not be acting Prime Minister next week. "We do not want him to represent us as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia", Ms Cheatham posted.

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