Nationals MP Andrew Broad says Barnaby Joyce should resign as party leader and go to the backbench and he’ll take that view into a party room meeting in Canberra on Monday.
He is the first federal Nationals MP to publicly call for the party leader to quit over his controversial affair with former staffer Vikki Campion.
“It is time he takes a step back,” the member for Mallee told ABC radio on Thursday.
The Victorian MP said he had a resolution from his Nationals branch calling on Mr Joyce to resign and he would take those views to a party room.
Earlier, the federal Nationals MP made a damning remark about the character of the Deputy Prime Minister after his first joint interview with pregnant partner Vikki Campion.
Mr Broad used Twitter on Thursday to draw a link between the Nationals leader and the words of the late US Christian preacher Billy Graham, who died the same day.
“Quote from the late Billy Graham ‘when wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost’… telling words for the Leadership of the National Party,” he wrote.
Quote from the late Billy Graham “when wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost”… telling words for the Leadership of the National Party.
— Andrew Broad MP (@broad4mallee) February 21, 2018
The tweet came after Mr Joyce and former staffer Ms Campion, 33, gave their first interview as a couple to Fairfax Media.
“It’s time to move on,” the 50-year-old told Fairfax more than two weeks after his extramarital affair was revealed by News Corp.
Mr Joyce, who has four daughters with his estranged wife of 24 years, Natalie, also confirmed the baby due in April is a boy.
“The one thing that has deeply annoyed me is that there is somehow an inference that this child is somehow less worthy than other children, and it’s almost spoken about in the third person,” he said.
“I love my daughters. I have four beautiful daughters and I love them to death. And now I will have a son.”
Ms Campion, who declined to be photographed for the Fairfax interview, gave one on-the-record comment to say her son’s middle names would honour her two brothers.
Mr Joyce is currently on personal leave.
Acting prime minister Mathias Cormann, who is filling in for Malcolm Turnbull instead of Mr Joyce, said they had been in touch.
“We had a very good conversation. He was cooking spaghetti at the time we talked,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“Some of the public pressure is incredibly intense, not just on Barnaby but also his family, his kids and his new partner, and yes it’s a distraction for the government but there’s some human beings involved.”