Rumours that former Treasurer Peter Costello is trying to get back into Parliament have been denied by the Liberals.
The Age reported Costello demanded a young MP step aside to accommodate him, setting off a bitter factional fight inside the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party.
Costello has denied the report, telling The Age the allegation was “lurid”, according to Business Spectator.
Former Howard government minister Peter Reith said he spoke with the former treasurer yesterday to warn him about the rumour.
“We had a bit of a chat about it, obviously there was no truth in it from his point of view, which I have absolutely no doubt about whatsoever,” Reith told ABC Radio.
Christopher Pyne, leader of opposition business said he wished Costello had stayed in Parliament.
“He has indicated there is no prospect of it happening,” Pyne also told ABC Radio.
Treasurer Wayne Swan tweeted: “Costello pitch-up no great surprise given the three stooges in Libs economic team have trashed Libs eco credentials.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said it was “quite intriguing” Costello was reportedly “calculating a comeback”.
“I’m not surprised. In this sense, it is well known that many members of the Liberal Party are very concerned about Mr Abbott’s lack of grip on economics,” she told ABC Radio.
“[They are] very concerned that the Liberal Party team, with Mr Abbott at the head, is trashing the Liberal Party’s credentials on economic management so there apparently is some yearning for Peter Costello because of that.”