Malcolm Turnbull

Claims of Liberal bullying, intimidation

Liberal MP Tim Wilson Source: AAP

Liberal politicians have echoed the prime minister's suggestions of poor behaviour in the party and the media during the week's leadership woes.

Liberal Party figures have urged their colleagues to do away with bullying and intimidation after several messy days of leadership uncertainty.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has set a deadline of midday on Friday for the week's second leadership challenge.

He will call a party room meeting on the condition rival Peter Dutton can secure at least 43 signatures to force a spill, with Scott Morrison and Julie Bishop also preparing to throw their hats into the leadership ring.

Revealing his plans to resolve the issue on Thursday, Mr Turnbull stressed those who wanted him gone had not played fair.

"The reality is that a minority in the party room, supported by others outside the parliament, have sought to bully, intimidate others into making this change of leadership that they're seeking," he told reporters.

"It's been described by many people, including those who feel they cannot resist it, as a form of madness."

His suggestion of bullying has been echoed by Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds.

"I do not recognise the bullying and intimidation that has gone on," she told the upper house on Thursday.

"Whatever happens tomorrow, this is a sad day for my party and for our nation.

"I just hope ... whatever happens tomorrow that the behaviours that we have seen and the bullying and intimidation that I do not recognise as Liberal in any shape, way or form be brought to account."

Liberal MP Tim Wilson has been at pains to make clear he has not been part of the coup.

But the Victorian took to Twitter to state he had not been on the end of coercion to sign up to the letter calling for a spill.

"For clarity: I have not been bullied or intimidated into signing the suicide note to call a leadership spill," he wrote on Thursday.

"People have politely asked me and I declined. The people of Australia and Goldstein have been very clear what they want, and I hear them."

Liberal MP John Alexander turned some of his criticism of the week's events towards the media - perhaps those "outside the parliament" to whom the prime minister was referring.

"The role that the press have played has escalated the damage that's been done," he told reporters.

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