Huge new blow for Barnaby
BELEAGUERED Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has been dealt a huge blow after the National Party in Western Australia effectively told him to resign.
In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Mia Davies, the leader of the Nationals in WA said she had contacted Mr Joyce to tell him he was causing "ongoing damage" to the party and his position as Federal Leader was "no longer tenable".
"Mr Joyce's actions have caused pain for his family but it is the ongoing damage he is causing The Nationals organisation that is of greatest concern to me as WA Leader," Ms Davies said.
"The Nationals brand across Western Australia has suffered as a result of Mr Joyce's actions and he has become a distraction at both a Federal and State level.
"My parliamentary colleagues and I have urged Mr Joyce to consider his position as leader in the best interests of the federal party and state branches."
"It is the view of the Parliamentary National Party of Western Australia that Mr Joyce's position as a Federal Leader is no longer tenable."
Mr Joyce has admitted to an affair with former staffer Vikki Campion with whom he is expecting a child. He has split with his wife Natalie, the mother of his four daughters.
The revelations saw Mr Joyce apologise to his wife Natalie, daughters and Ms Campion, but refuse to stand down over the saga.
Mrs Joyce previously told the Daily Telegraph of the "hurt" she suffered at learning about the affair and pregnancy.
However she has reportedly said she wants her husband to keep his job, despite the pain his affair has caused the family.
On Tuesday, Mr Joyce was being bullish telling Fairfax he intended to hang on.
"I've been in heaps of fights in my political life, this is another one, in any person's political career you aren't created by the times in your favour, you're tempered by the times of adversity," he said.
"I am humbled by the support in my electorate and in the community. People are starting to see this as a witch hunt. I'm not going anywhere, I never would."
But having an entire state arm withdraw its support is undoubtedly bad news for Mr Joyce. However, the WA Nationals are a separate organisation to the rest of the National Party and have, at times, defied the larger party.
Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, Nationals MP Matt Canavan said support for Barnaby Joyce within the party was "pretty 50/50".