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‘That could have turned the tide’: Liberal MP takes aim at Turnbull’s silence

Liberal MP Craig Kelly has criticised Malcolm Turnbull’s silence, saying the former prime minister could have “turned the tide” of the Wentworth by-election.

Votes are still being counted but the Liberals have conceded defeat in the crucial seat, with a swing of about 20 per cent predicted.

Independent candidate Kerryn Phelps is expected to win, forcing the Coalition into a minority government.

It’s sparked questions as to whether former prime minister Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah will be in trouble when the federal election comes around.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly says “no seat is safe” and he’s taking aim at Malcolm Turnbull’s refusal to back Liberal candidate Dave Sharma in his former seat.

“I think there’s a big difference between Wentworth in a by-election and Tony Abbott’s seat,” he tells Ben Fordham.

“It’s not a by-election, it’s not a case where you’ve got a sitting member basically stepping away from politics and refusing to give any support to the new incumbent which is what we had in Wentworth.

“It would have been nice if he could have sent a couple of tweets to say he supported Dave Sharma.

“That could have helped, that could have turned the tide.”

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Mr Kelly says the government has “a lot of work to do”, but is confident they can win the next election.

“This election coming up, Ben, is going to be tough.

“Every single day between now and May, I and the rest of my colleagues will do everything we can to emphasise the difference between ourselves and the Labor Party.”