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English Keeps Leadership Bid Options Open

English Keeps Leadership Bid Options Open

Former National Party Leader Bill English explains to the media he is keeping his leadership bid options open

This afternoon former National Party Leader Bill English kept his options open regarding whether or not he wants a crack at the leadership again. Mr English's rival for the job – should he opt to put his name forward for the currently vacant position – is John Key. According to the just released book by investigative journalist Nicky Hager 'The Hollow Men' Mr English lost his leadership to Don Brash by one vote and that the decisive vote was John Key's.

"The night before the leadership vote, Bill English's supporters had retired to the Backbencher Pub across the road from Parliament to celebrate their victory. But the numbers were not as certain as they believed. Notably the MP John Key had visited English at his Wellington residence that evening and, after asking what advancement was available to him with English as the leader, pledged to give him his vote. The next day [Key] instead voted for Brash, who won the leadership by one vote."

Mr English was also faced with a couple of questions from the media regarding a letter he had written to Don Brash warning of the influence of Murray McCully within the National Party that had somehow found its way into Mr Hager's book.

"Unfortunately the middle of the road caucus people are coming to the conclusion their fate is largely in the hands of McCully who is happy to burn off anybody who gets in the way, [former chief of staff Richard] Long who just pushes stars and Brownlee who looks after his own interests not theirs. You cannot afford to burn off the talent we have and reward the self promoters who turn out to be incompetent," wrote Mr English to Dr Brash in early 2005.

Mr English decided to turn the question around and seemed to imply that the questioner and/ or the media (Vernon Small of the Dominion Post) was somehow responsible for Mr McCully's influence.

Listen to Bill English explain how he's keeping his leadership bid options open

Scoop Audio.Scoop Streaming Audio: Bill English Press conference 24/11/2006

Click here to download file


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