Former Liberal Party member and independent councillor Marcus Cornish says he will run against incumbent Liberal MP Fiona Scott in the crucial marginal electorate of Lindsay.
Mr Cornish sensationally resigned from the party on the first full day of the campaign after accusing Ms Scott of stabbing former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the back by voting for Malcolm Turnbull in last September’s leadership spill.
The inflammatory interview distracted from Mr Turnbull’s efforts to campaign in the seat in the first week of the campaign.
Cr Cornish told the ABC he planned to file paperwork today to run as an independent conservative, potentially splitting the right-wing vote.
“While it has been a difficult decision to leave the Liberal Party and run as a Conservative Independent, I believe I would do a better job representing the people of Penrith and Lindsay than the current member, or the alternatives,” he said in a statement.
Ms Scott has previously declined to comment on who she voted for in the leadership spill, or on Mr Cornish’s resignation.
Her campaign recently received a boost when former Prime Minister John Howard visited the electorate to campaign with her.
She made national headlines during the 2013 election campaign when Mr Abbott lauded her “sex appeal” during a campaign visit to Lindsay.
Mr Cornish has previously campaigned at local government level against mosques.