Wednesday, June 29, 2022

‘Hard to sell’: Concern among Liberals that Dutton has an image problem, as he readies to claim leadership

Conservative hardhead Peter Dutton looks set to take over from Scott Morrison as the next leader of the Liberal Party, with former environment minister Sussan Ley shaping up as the frontrunner to take on the deputy position.

As Liberal MPs come to terms with the scale of the defeat on Saturday, jostling over the leadership positions has begun with a strong view within the party that the deputy must be a woman.

Feeling alienated by Mr Morrison and his blokey image, professional women abandoned the Liberals at the election, an issue several MPs say the party needs to address.

Ms Ley, who is not aligned with the conservative or moderate facts, is canvassing support among her colleagues but she is seen by some as being tainted by the Morrison era.

There is also strong support for former minister Jane Hume, who is from Melbourne, where the Liberal Party lost traditional heartland seats, although it is unconventional for the deputy leader to be a senator.

Sussan Ley is considering contesting for the deputy leadership of the Liberals.,Nation World News: Adam Kennedy,

Former minister Karen Andrews and backbencher Bridget Archer have publicly expressed an interest in taking on the deputy role, but are considered outside chances by their colleagues.

MPs worried Dutton may be ‘hard to sell’

Mr Dutton — who lost a leadership contest to Mr Morrison in 2018 — is so far the only nominee to take the reins of the shattered party room and while he is viewed as a hard man, he is highly respected and well-liked within the party itself.

One MP said Mr Dutton was a “very decent man” but had a terrible perception problem that the Liberals would need to address immediately.

“I’m sure people will say, ‘He’s a man who looks like the other bloke, only worse,'” the MP said.

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