The news has looked increasingly bad for the Liberals in Malcolm Turnbull‘s old seat of Wentworth, and it seems like even Scott Morrison knows it. In a presser today, the prime minister admitted that it was pretty likely that the government would lose a seat which has been held by conservative parties since Federation.

The Liberal candidate, former ambassador Dave Sharma, has been buoyed by support from former PM John Howard, but it’s looking like it might not be enough. It doesn’t help that Turnbull, who was very well liked in the seat, has been completely AWOL from campaigning in Sharma’s favour. It’s a tight race, and many believe that independent candidate Kerryn Phelps will prevail.

Here’s Scott Morrison sounding very, very dour about the whole thing:

Q: Is [Sharma] the underdog in this race?
Morrison: I’ve always said that.
Q: Do you expect that on balance he will lose?
Morrison: I’ve been saying that for the last couple of weeks.
Q: Do you expect that on balance he will lose?
Morrison: I think the expectation are clearly set in this direction.

(Note: Morrison has absolutely not been saying that he expects Sharma to lose over the past few weeks.)

This isn’t just your regular by-election, either. If Sharma loses, then the government loses its razor-thin one seat margin in the House of Representatives. That’ll mean they have to negotiate with the cross-bench, which will make Morrison’s life incredibly difficult in the lead-up to the next federal election.

But now you’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth: the Libs are not confident they’re going to bring this one home.

Image: AAP