WILL Lawrence Springborg exit stage left after today’s leadership challenge widely seen as orchestrated by former Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney
WILL Lawrence Springborg exit stage left after today’s leadership challenge widely seen as orchestrated by former Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney John McCutcheon

Springborg faces tough battle to survive

LAWRENCE Springborg will look to win today's LNP leadership stoush in the first round, but is likely to be caught in a tight battle with Tim Nicholls if he fails to do so.

Support for Tim Mander, according to party insiders, is down to only six or eight votes at most with the "Anyone but Lawrence" faction having already shifted allegiances after Mr Nicholls declared earlier this week he would run.

Mr Springborg will use his authority as leader at today's 11am meeting to spill the leader and deputy leader positions rather than have former Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney put a motion to that effect.

Candidates for the positions will then state their case, with Mr Springborg likely to ask for a clear mandate to continue the job that has put the LNP ahead of Labor 52-48% on recent opinion polls.

He requires 21 votes to retain the top job which if he fails to achieve on the first round will leave him vulnerable to Mr Nicholls who is widely acknowledged within the party as a future Premier.

Going into today's meeting Mr Springborg has, according to sources, between 18 and 22 votes he can rely on.

However that number includes one who has indicated this morning he will be voting for Mr Nicholls.

Springborg supporters said Jeff Seeney remains the wildcard with the former Infrastructure Planning and Local Government Minister unliked by many in the party.

Mr Seeney is seen as having orchestrated the situation using Tim Mander as an unwitting stalking horse to allow Mr Nicholls to then run - as he did against Bruce Flegg and again in January, 2015 - with clean hands having not directly challenged the leader.

"The only winner in this is Labor,'' said one Springborg supporter.

The worst outcome, he said, would be a close second round vote which would leave the issue unresolved.


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