It was a confident John Howard who told the press at lunchtime today that he is staying, and still believes he and his team can win the election.
Howard faced a meeting of MPs this morning but there was no threat: a direct challenge had already been ruled out before this morning’s meeting.
Howard confirmed that he had supported Alexander Downer to discuss the leadership issues with colleagues and inform him of the results. He says that it is an act of mature men and mature women, but the result was no desire for any change to the leadership team.
He added that Downer is a close personal friend and that Treasurer Peter Costello has behaved quite properly. “We can still win this election. I really believe that,” he says.