Former prime minister Tony Abbott has denied telling British pollies that he still has a reasonable chance of becoming Prime Minister again.
Mr Abbott was reacting to an exclusive report in Fairfax newspapers that he had told allies in the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom that he could make a comeback and re-enter The Lodge.
Mr Abbott effectively said the story was made up and soon hit back at the story and the journalist on Twitter.
As for unsourced, unattributed, unprofessional reports, the journalist in question is yet again making things up.
— Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) October 4, 2016
The report comes as Mr Abbott completes a round-the-world tour that has included Prague, New York and currently London to discuss his legacy as prime minister, just over one year since his demise.
Mr Abbott’s reported claim that he still has a chance at a second stint in the top job, comes despite assuring his party that his leadership was “dead, buried and cremated” and that “the Abbott era is over.”
But the assertion of leadership hopes in the Fairfax report is not backed up in the story itself, neither by a UK-based source, nor a Liberal Party source.
Fairfax also reported that a senior Liberal source close to Mr Abbott said the former PM still had a “good chance” of returning to the job because he is popular with the party membership compared with Malcolm Turnbull.
With polling numbers this week showing Mr Turnbull is still performing poorly and has lost support particularly in rural electorates, and a perception that he has failed to live up to expectations, Mr Abbott’s supporters still appear to harbour hopes of a comeback.
The Fairfax report noted that other Liberals had not ruled out the possibility of an Abbott comeback, saying his prospects had improved as Mr Turnbull had failed to improve.