John McVeigh MP with Peter Dutton MP in Toowoomba. April 2018
John McVeigh MP with Peter Dutton MP in Toowoomba. April 2018 Bev Lacey

John McVeigh breaks silence on leadership crisis

AN EXASPERATED John McVeigh has thrown his support behind Peter Dutton to lead the Liberal Party as chaos tears through the Federal Government.

The Groom MP is calling for a party room vote, describing Malcolm Turnbull's leadership as "untenable".

"I have always believed in supporting the leader of the day and have therefore loyally supported the prime minister," Dr McVeigh said.

"However, over recent days it has become clear to me that the Prime Minister's leadership has become untenable.

"On Wednesday night I visited the Prime Minister to share my concerns and subsequently visited him again on Thursday morning to confirm I believed his leadership had come to an end.

"As such, I have called for arrangements to be put in place to hold a party room meeting as soon as possible."

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Dr McVeigh has ridden a wave of success in the corridors of Canberra since being sworn in as Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government.

He has hosted both Mr Turnbull and Mr Dutton in Toowoomba this year, with the former delivering his first major speech from the Empire Theatre in January.

Through Dr McVeigh's lobbying, Mr Dutton - the former Home Affairs Minister - saw the Garden City as a model for successful refugee resettlement in April.

But instability and uncertainty about the party leadership, and therefore the government, had triggered Dr McVeigh into action this week.

"Feedback from Groom is that people are sick of this uncertainty - and so am I," Dr McVeigh said.

"We need to get on with the job.

"As the Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, I have worked tirelessly to implement the Coalition Government's plans for regional Australia while remaining a fierce advocate for the voters and interests of the Groom electorate."

A party room vote is expected in Canberra on the condition leadership challenger Mr Dutton has the required 43 signatures on a petition to remove Mr Turnbull from the top job.

That vote is expected to be held tomorrow.