NSW Transport Minister David Elliott puts name forward for deputy Liberal leadership

NSW Transport Minister David Elliott puts name forward for deputy Liberal leadership

NSW Transport Minister David Elliott has publicly thrown his hat in the ring to be the state’s next deputy Liberal leader following the resignation of Stuart Ayres.

Mr Elliott, who will take on one of Mr Ayres’s portfolios as Western Sydney Minister, said he was “prepared to put my name forward” to also fill the deputy leadership hole.

“The parliamentary Liberal Party has had a very traumatic period over the last couple of years and certainly in recent weeks with the loss of a number of ministers,” he said.

“I’ve said to the Premier, ‘I’ll make myself available.’

“Of course, it’s a matter for the party room but I believe I’ve got the leadership qualifications and experience in the military and the private sector to bring something to the party room leadership team.”

The Baulkham Hills MP is likely to face challenges from Treasurer Matt Kean, Roads Minister Natalie Ward and Alister Henskens — who holds multiple portfolios.

Mr Elliott said it would be up to his party colleagues to decide “what qualities they want to prioritize” in choosing a new deputy.

“It is certainly my attempt to provide (Premier) Dominic Perrottet, whether I’m deputy or not, with as much energy and as much frank advice and as much encouragement and loyalty as I possibly can.”

The NSW government was plunged into crisis yesterday when Mr Perrottet announced Mr Ayres had resigned.

Stuart Ayres announced his resignation from the ministry and deputy leadership on Wednesday.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

It came after the former deputy Liberal leader, who held several ministerial portfolios, was found to have potentially breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct over his role in the John Barilaro saga.

The appointment of Mr Barilaro to a lucrative New York trade role generated instant controversy and sparked two separate inquiries into the recruitment process.

One of the inquiries, ordered by Mr Perrottet, has “raised concerns” about Mr Ayres’s conduct in his position as the trade minister during Mr Barilaro’s recruitment.

Mr Ayres said he agreed to step down but denies any wrongdoing.

“To maintain the integrity of the cabinet, I have decided to resign as a minister to allow the investigation to be completed,” he said.