Malcolm Turnbull

'A stunning victory': Barnaby Joyce claims New England by-election win

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Barnaby Joyce and Malcolm Turnbull hail the strength of the coalition as the former deputy PM claims victory in the New England by-election.

Barnaby Joyce has claimed victory in the New England by-election, delivering a speech in which he thanked voters for their support at the ballot box.

Speaking in Tamworth alongside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Joyce said: "I say to the people of New England: I never take anything for granted.

"For every person who voted for us ... I just want to say how completely and utterly humbled I am.

"Thank you very much. I hold you as close to my heart as I possibly could."

Mr Turnbull added: "This has been a stunning victory ... and a great demonstration of the strength of the coalition."

With more than a quarter of votes counted across New England, Mr Joyce has secured more than 63 per cent of the first preference vote.

Mr Turnbull earlier met with his former deputy at a polling booth just prior to the close of voting.

"There have been some personalities and there have been some tensions, there is no doubt about that," Mr Turnbull told reporters when questioned about calls from within the Nationals for his resignation.

"The people of New England, returning Barnaby today, are making a great contribution to the government."

The pair played down talk of splintering within the coalition, with Mr Turnbull saying his friendship and working relationship with Mr Joyce was the most important in the government.

"The relationship between our parties is strong and Barnaby is a strong leader," he said.

He said the sooner Mr Joyce is back in Canberra at the helm of the National party and the deputy prime ministership, the better.

Minutes after the meeting, Mr Joyce told reporters he had been contacted by one of the rumoured agitators - Queensland MP George Christensen.

He said Mr Christensen had affirmed his allegiance to the party with the return of Mr Joyce and following the announcement of the banking royal commission.

Mr Joyce has apologised to the electorate for putting them through the snap by-election because of his New Zealand citizenship, which ruled him ineligible for parliament.

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