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Rumours of Nationals switch an ‘absolute beat-up’, says Liberal MP

Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly says suggestions he would switch to the National Party are an “absolute beat up”.

The federal MP has been saved from a tight pre-selection battle in his seat of Hughes after the Prime Minister intervened.

There were suggestions Mr Kelly had threatened to move to the crossbench if he wasn’t re-endorsed, claims he has strongly denied.

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said yesterday the party was willing to welcome Mr Kelly if the Liberals abandoned him.

“In my discussions, it was basically along the lines of, ‘if they don’t want you, I’m only too happy to see what I can do from my small part to make you part of our team. I think you’d be a great addition’,” Mr Joyce said.

But the conservative Liberal MP tells Chris Smith he wouldn’t consider moving to the Nationals.

“The story that was on the news last night was a complete and absolute beat up,” he says.

“It was one of those things mentioned in passing and they’ve jokingly said it.

“We’re united as a team and that’s the most important thing.”

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