Australia

McCormack under pressure amid Nationals leadership whispers

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The Nationals may be looking at another leadership spill as Barnaby Joyce's backers push for his return and he admits he has ambitions in that direction.

Barnaby Joyce says he's not canvassing to regain the leadership while senior Nationals have thrown their support behind Michael McCormack but the party may well be facing down another leadership spill.

Mr Joyce was Nationals leader until he quit in February after his former staffer Vikki Campion became pregnant with his child.

Barnaby Joyce at Parliament House
Barnaby Joyce has admitted he still has ambitions of reclaiming the leadership of the Nationals.
AAP

"I have not made one call to one colleague asking for a vote," Mr Joyce told Sky News on Wednesday.

"There's been no secret meetings in my room, there's no WhatsApp group, there's no dinner conversations going away to a restaurant."

But he confirmed he had ambitions to be leader again and wouldn't turn it down if it were offered.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack reacts during House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack reacts during House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra.
AAP

Media reports say Mr Joyce's backers in Queensland are actively pushing for him to take over the leadership.

Mr McCormack is under pressure from some Nationals who described the deputy prime minister as "ineffective" and criticised him for failing to stand up to the Liberal Party.

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