Welcome to hour 10,000 of our ongoing coverage of what feels like the very tepid beginnings of the second leadership challenge. For those who just tuned in: MPs in the pro-Dutton camp have been circulating a petition to hold a party room meeting at which they can challenge Malcolm Turnbull‘s leadership.
At this stage, it looks like nothing is going to happen this evening, with a number of Liberal MPs spotted heading home, but it at least indicates that the shadowy cabal of Dutton supporters believe they have enough numbers to win the ballot now.
Amidst all this impenetrable and deeply confusing turmoil, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister James McGrath has resigned from the frontbench. You might recall that he also did this last night, but he’s done it again, and this time it stuck. McGrath posted a copy of his resignation letter to Facebook, saying: “This evening I met with the Prime Minister to insist my resignation be accepted, which it was.“
Although a number of MPs tendered their resignations, it seems at this stage that McGrath, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and Peter Dutton are the only ones actually to have officially resigned.