Just one month after a failed shot at Nationals party leadership, Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders has been voted leader of the NSW Nationals.
On Monday afternoon, the Nationals party room met after Paul Toole's leadership was called into question over accusations he lied about Ben Franklin's plans to nominate for president of the upper house.
It emerged last week that Mr Franklin was considering nominating for the job with Labor's backing, and now the MP has revealed he also had Mr Toole's support.
"I thought the leader of the party was happy with it, and I was acting under that assumption," Mr Franklin said.
This is contrary to Mr Toole's own comments about this situation, telling metropolitan media last week that Mr Franklin "should not be accepting the position of president of the upper house".
Ahead of the meeting, which was held at 3pm, it was expected party members would ask Mr Toole to stand aside from the position and that Mr Saunders would be putting his hand up for the position.
A Nationals party insider confirmed to the Daily Liberal that Mr Saunders was selected to be the party's new leader during the meeting. It is reported Saunders won the vote ten to five.
This comes just weeks after Mr Saunders was unsuccessful in another attempt to gain party leadership in the first party meeting since the March state election, where the Nationals failed to gain any ground.
Mr Saunders put up his hand to challenge party leader Paul Toole - who had been in the position since October 2021, following the resignation of John Barilaro - but was outvoted.
Seven members of the 16-member party room voted for Saunders with eight voting for Toole. There was one informal vote.
Relatively new to parliament, the former ABC radio presenter was first voted into the seat of Dubbo with a narrow margin in 2019 after sitting member Troy Grant retired. Since being elected into office, he has served as the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Western New South Wales under Dominic Perrottet.
Dugald Saunders and Paul Toole have been contacted for comment.
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