Australia

Liberal MP Craig Laundy confirms plans to quit

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The Liberal Party has lost another sitting MP, with ex-minister Craig Laundy deciding to retire at the next federal election due in May.

Former minister Craig Laundy will quit federal parliament at the next election, forcing the Liberal Party into a last-minute scramble to find a candidate for his Sydney marginal seat of Reid.

After weeks of speculation about his future, Mr Laundy, who was a strong backer of Malcolm Turnbull's leadership, told party members in a message on Friday he had advised Prime Minister Scott Morrison of his decision.

Liberal member for Reid Craig Laundy
Craig Laundy has confirmed speculation he will quit at the next election.
AAP

He cited family reasons for his decision.

"The reality of modern politics is that, more often than not, a member of parliament has to put their constituents ahead of their family, something I’ve done over the past six years," Mr Laundy said in a statement. 

"It’s now time to focus on my family, who I have spent so much time away from."

The former Small and Family Business Minister turned down an offer to stay on in the ministry when Scott Morrison took over as prime minister in August.

He said he had loved every minute of serving the community.

"At a time where the vast majority of Australians see politics as fiercely divided, the irony is, I’ve made friendships that I believe will be lifelong on both sides of the chamber and am extremely proud of that."

The marginal inner-Sydney seat of Reid has a margin of 4.7 per cent and is being heavily targeted by Labor.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation Hon Craig Laundy arrive for a press conference in Sydney, Sunday, June 24, 2018. (AAP Image/Jeremy Ng) NO ARCHIVING
Craig Laundy was a loyal Malcolm Turnbull supporter.
AAP

Mr Laundy's departure is a blow to the Morrison government which has already been hit by high-profile retirements, including former foreign minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne. 

The Liberal Party had planned to recruit a star candidate to replace Mr Laundy but former NSW Police deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas rejected an offer to run.

Labor candidate Sam Crosby, the executive director of the party's public policy think tank, has been campaigning in the seat for the past 12 months.

Additional reporting by AAP

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