News National Pyne: I switched to Turnbull in 24 hours

Pyne: I switched to Turnbull in 24 hours

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Education Minister Christopher Pyne has claimed that ousted PM Tony Abbott had his support the day before the leadership spill, before changing his mind in the final hours.

Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull defeated Mr Abbott in a leadership ballot, 54 votes to 44, on Monday night, to take the prime ministership.

On Friday morning, Mr Pyne admitted that Mr Abbott was warned to improve by the party room in February, but had failed to do so seven months later.

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“The truth is on Sunday there was no leadership ballot, on Monday there was, then I made an assessment,” Mr Pyne told the Nine Network.

“It was very hard for anyone to argue that he wasn’t given absolutely every opportunity to prove that he was the best person to lead the party.”

These comments came as Prime Minister Turnbull is arranging a new frontbench which should be announced on Monday.

Speculation is mounting about who will be handed which portfolios.

Mr Pyne is tipped to take on the Defence Minister role, replacing Kevin Andrews, and ensuring the navy’s new submarines will be built in in his home state, South Australia.

Mr Pyne told Sky News on Friday that he was happy to stay in the education portfolio or go into a role chosen by Mr Turnbull.

Earlier this week, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton reportedly offered his resignation to the PM, but there have been no further confirmations.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison is reportedly tipped to replace Joe Hockey as Treasurer.

Meanwhile, Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, who went up against Bill Shorten to be opposition leader in 2013, rejected questions about whether the Labor party could be better placed to take on Mr Turnbull under him.

“That’s not going to happen,” he told Sky News.

—with AAP

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