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Malcolm Turnbull steps in to stop ‘worst and weakest’ bid to save jilted Lib

Ousted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has thrown a curveball at the government’s plan to keep troublesome MP Craig Kelly happy.

Mr Kelly, one of the right-wing conservatives responsible for pushing Mr Turnbull out of office, faces a tough battle to win a preselection battle for his seat of Hughes.

With Mr Kelly refusing to rule out becoming a crossbencher if the NSW voters of Hughes don’t select him, Liberal powerbrokers were yesterday working on tweaking rules to ensure the preselection battled needn’t even occur.

But Mr Turnbull was having none of that.

In a series of tweets on Sunday night, Mr Turnbull said to rig the rules to help Mr Kelly slip back into power would be a “capitulation”.

“Indeed it would be the worst and weakest response to such a threat,” he wrote.

“It is time for the Liberal Party members in Hughes to have their say about their local member and decide who they want to represent them.”

It was a bad night for Mr Kelly, who was also confirmed to have been in a public slanging match with a local at a gym.