Abbott to stand in leadership vote

Just in:

Liberal Tony Abbott says he will throw his hat into the ring against Malcolm Turnbull tomorrow whether or not Joe Hockey is a contender for the liberal leadership.

Mr Abbott said after a day of discussions with Mr Hockey, who is in favour of a free vote on the emissions trading scheme, he had decided he needed to challenge whoever may be standing at the Liberal party room meeting.

The latest bombshell throws yet more confusion into the leadership debacle.

Mr Abbott had always said he would stand aside if Mr Hockey contested the leadership, but that position has changed because the shadow treasurer isn’t willing to adopt the hard line on the ETS.

Mr Abbott addressed reporters at Parliament House.‘‘I respect Joe’s position, I think that if Joe wants to run for leader on the basis of a free vote he is entitled to do so,’’ Mr Abbott said.

“But …it is just not possible for a credible party to have a free vote.”

Mr Turnbull is refusing to step aside as federal Liberal leader, saying he will contest a leadership contest if a spill vote is passed.

“I will be standing tomorrow,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Read it here.

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