Bronwyn Bishop became the much-maligned face of Choppergate
Bronwyn Bishop became the much-maligned face of Choppergate Contributed

Bishop and Abbott at war over Choppergate revelations

FORMER Speaker Bronwyn Bishop has confirmed she wanted to apologise after she was caught claiming a $5000 helicopter ride, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office told her to hold her ground.

The saga is considered one of the major destroyers of the Abbott Government's reputations, that Ms Bishop spent $5227 on a helicopter ride from Melbourne to Geelong for a party function instead of doing the one-hour drive.

Ms Bishop apologised two weeks after details of the trip were first published on July 15 last year, but by then her reputation had been tarred so much that she was forced to resign.

The "Choppergate" affair hit the news again last week after journalist Niki Savva's book The Road To Ruin claimed Ms Bishop wanted to say sorry immediately, but was told to stay quiet by the PM's office.

If only six members had changed their vote we would still have Tony Abbott as PM.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has denied Ms Bishop's recollection of the Choppergate saga Chris Ison

When Abbott faced the knives in a Malcolm Turnbull-led coup, Ms Bishop sided against Abbott.

Ms Bishop has told The Manly Daily the account in Savva's book was "basically true"

"It's best to leave those things for people to draw their own conclusions about but the way it's been reported is basically true," she said.

But the former PM has denied Ms Bishop's claims, saying she was told to say sorry immediately.

Mr Abbott's spokesman told NewsCorp: "Mr Abbott told her on the day the story broke that she had to apologise and repay the money."

Mr Abbott has repeatedly refused to confirm or deny claims made in Savva's book, saying he did not want to rake over old coals.

He has otherwise pointed to his government's record of stopping asylum seeker boats from arriving and dismantling the mining and carbon taxes introduced by the former Labor Government.