Dumped Queensland MP Bruce Flegg has hit out at “faceless people” within the LNP, saying the party hierarchy has lost confidence in Premier Campbell Newman retaining his seat at next year’s state election.
The LNP state executive today blocked Dr Flegg from standing again for the party in the seat of Moggill.
He has told 7.30 Queensland that ousting him was part of the party’s succession plan should Mr Newman fail to hold his Brisbane seat of Ashgrove.
“I am certain that the LNP do not believe Campbell Newman can win Ashgrove,” he said.
“This is about the factional battle for who leads the LNP after Campbell Newman is gone, whether or not that is before or after the election.
“Campbell won’t be happy that I’m doing a public interview but I think the public have a right to know.”
Dr Flegg said polling showed the Premier was very unpopular and that some Brisbane-based MPs faced battles to hold their seats.
But he did not think Mr Newman would be slotted into the safer adjoining seat of Moggill.
“I don’t believe that Campbell has coveted the seat of Moggill,” Dr Flegg said.
“He is very genuine and fair dinkum that he intends to run in the seat of Ashgrove.
“There are other forces at play.”
Dr Flegg, a former leader of the Liberal Party in Queensland and once a minister in the Newman Government, said the LNP had not told him why he had been dumped.
He said the party had abandoned its principles by denying his branch the right to choose their candidate.
He said he could not pretend things were normal when Parliament resumes in 10 days.
“I’m a very, very upset person, as I think anyone would be who has given more than a decade of their life … loyally to serve the Liberal Party first and in later years the LNP,” he said.
“It is difficult how I could do anything other than sit on the cross benches. I have not even been given a reason by the party for my dumping.
“It is difficult to see how I would simply sit there and pretend.”
Dr Flegg said Mr Newman would be distressed that he had been dumped from the LNP.
He said Mr Newman had sent him a text message of support before yesterday’s meeting.
“They are poking Campbell Newman in the eye,” he said.
“I think Campbell will be very distressed that in the adjoining seat to his, which is really the sister seat to Ashgrove, the organisation have disendorsed the sitting member of over a decade who was a former Liberal leader.”
The futures of MPs Peter Dowling and Ros Bates were also considered at today’s meeting.
Newman had vendetta against Flegg, Opposition says
Opposition spokesman Curtis Pitt said all three MPs should have been sacked and it was clear Mr Newman had a vendetta against Dr Flegg.
“This is the Premier saying the standards set by the member for Redlands are acceptable for a member of Parliament,” he said.
“What an appalling display of leadership.”
Mr Pitt said the LNP’s move to dump Dr Flegg was about Mr Newman “keeping his options open when it comes to the seat of Moggill”.
“All three LNP MPs have been mired in controversy and frankly all should’ve been given the chop,” he said.
“We all know about the allegations of inducements and we know Dr Flegg felt so threatened that he recorded all of his conversations on the matter.
“Now we know the Premier’s faceless men – the LNP executive – have done what the Premier couldn’t and that’s get rid of Dr Bruce Flegg.”