LNP mends few bridges with Groom's party faithful

Groom MP Ian Macfarlane's failed defection bid will be explained to the electorate's party faithful this morning.
Groom MP Ian Macfarlane's failed defection bid will be explained to the electorate's party faithful this morning. Kevin Farmer

UPDATE: The Liberal National Party moved to mend some bridges with disgruntled Groom voters in an informal meeting this morning.

LNP president Gary Spence addressed the rank and file crowd at Gabbinbar with a view to explaining what Ian Macfarlane's failed defection bid would mean for the electorate.

It followed the party's rejection of the overwhelming majority of the party faithful in Groom who had backed Mr Macfarlane in his desire to join the Nationals party.

Mr Spence said the meeting had been convened to explain the reasons behind the executive's decision to overrule the desires of Groom backers.

He said the meeting was held in-confidence and the details would not be made public.

"We had a very constructive discussion about the events of the weekend, and I am pleased to get the opportunity to meet with them all," he said.

A number of key LNP backers were left dismayed and outraged at the executive's decision to block Mr Macfarlane's move to the Nationals.

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The 26-member executive voted 14-12 to block the move, a stark contrast to the 106 of the 141 rank and file members who backed the switch.

The defection, and the intense scrutiny of the party's public façade of unity, had prompted the LNP to develop a framework to cope with any future branch switches, Mr Spence said.

"Those discussions are about providing the party with a framework for when these things happen," he said.

He denied claims the party had been fractured by Mr Macfarlane's failed switch.

"There's no split at all," Mr Spence said.

"(The party is) as united as it has ever been."

Reports surfaced yesterday the LNP would declare the federal seat of Groom as Liberal-held even if Mr Macfarlane resigns from public office before the next election.

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8AM: THE LNP state executive is holding an informal meeting with party supporters in Toowoomba this morning to explain what Ian Macfarlane's failed defection bid means for the electorate.

Party president Gary Spence called the meeting for this morning after Mr Macfarlane was blocked from switching to the Nationals branch of the party on Monday.

That was after an overwhelming number of Groom's LNP faithful backed his move to switch from the Liberals.

Mr Spence said on Monday he felt he owed it to the rank and file members to explain the situation.

The meeting is expected to wrap up about 9.30am.



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