Nats leader tipped to step aside before poll
The top levels of the Coalition expect Michael McCormack will make way for his newly appointed deputy David Littleproud to take over the Nationals leadership in an orderly transition of power.
Leading Nationals and Liberals now believe the Deputy Prime Minister must step down ahead of the next election to ensure the survival of the country party and maintain stability inside the Coalition.
The Weekend Australian understands a change in Nationals leadership — following Barnaby Joyce’s failed move against Mr McCormack — would see Mr Joyce not challenge for the top job and instead work as a minister in Mr Littleproud’s team.
While no formal agreement or timetable is in place for the proposed transition, Coalition leaders have concluded a clean change is required after talks in Canberra.
Mr McCormack told The Weekend Australian: “I intend leading the party to the next election.”
But he also said: “The leadership is the gift of the Nationals partyroom. A week is a long time in politics.”