Disgraced ex-Minister Jamie Briggs will reportedly not quit Parliament despite the scandal that forced his resignation from cabinet.
Mr Briggs intends to re-contest his safe South Australian seat of Mayo at the 2016 federal election, The Advertiser reported on Wednesday morning.
The former Cities Minister quit the front bench on December 29 after a female public servant accused him of “inappropriate” behaviour in a Hong Kong bar.
Some Liberals are reportedly concerned the ongoing scandal will harm the party’s electoral chances in South Australia, where it faces the threat of Nick Xenophon and fallout from the submarine contracts fiasco.
Voters have been reminded of Briggs’ misbehaviour for several days because the Minister admitted to sharing a photo of the public servant with colleagues. The photo leaked to journalists, where it made its way to the front page of a national newspaper.
Then, Minister Peter Dutton accidentally sent the “f***ing witch” text message to the female journalist it described instead of its intended recipient, Mr Briggs.
On Wednesday, another claim emerged, this time from The Australian, which reported that Briggs pushed back against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s request that he resign on Christmas Eve, arguing that it would impact negatively on his family’s Christmas Day.
The PM has publicly disapproved of Mr Briggs’ behaviour toward the public servant, and been forced to denounce his leaking of her photo and Dutton’s message, deepening the embarrassment to the Liberal government.
But it seems Mr Briggs is intent on staying in Parliament, while his resignation suggested he plans to return to the cabinet in future.
“I intend to again one day have those opportunities to serve at the higher level,” he said.
Mr Briggs has not publicly responded to The Advertiser‘s report.