Leadership rumblings within National Party over who could replace Bill English

by RNZ / 31 January, 2018

Bill English is expected by some of his colleagues to step down, but it's not clear what will happen to his deputy, Paula Bennett. Photo / Getty Images

It's understood numbers are being crunched over who could succeed Bill English.

National MPs are understood to be doing the numbers over a possible successor for leader Bill English.

As the Opposition seeks to regroup in the wake of the election loss questions are also being raised about deputy leader Paula Bennett.

Mr English is expected by some of his colleagues to step down.

RNZ political editor Jane Patterson says there is no suggestion Mr English will be toppled but MPs are understood to be doing the numbers and considering what happens if he decides to stand aside.

There may be a more direct push potentially against Paula Bennett though there is nothing specific at the moment, she said. The party will be very focused on whether it has the best leadership team to counter Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

There is some talk about the deputy leadership in particular, and while it is too early to say who might make a push for the job, MPs like Simon Bridges, who ran against Ms Bennett for the role last year, may surface.

National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett. Photo / Rebekah Parsons-King

National MPs spoken to by RNZ at Parliament this morning downplayed leadership questions.

The MPs said they had full confidence in the current team.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

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