Australian PM "surprised" by MP's decision to quit governing party

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-28 10:03:38|Editor: Lu Hui
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CANBERRA, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was surprised by Member of Parliament (MP) Julia Banks' decision to quit the governing Liberal-National Party Coalition (LNP).

Banks, the MP for Chisholm in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, announced on Tuesday that she was defecting from the Liberal Party, which forms the governing LNP with the National Party of Australia, to join the crossbench in the lower house of the parliament, the House of Representatives, as an independent MP.

Her decision has jeopardized the LNP's grip on power, leaving it with only 74 out of 150 seats in the House.

Addressing the move for the first time, Morrison on Wednesday said he was surprised by the announcement, saying that Banks did not warn him ahead of time.

"No, no she didn't. And of course that's disappointing, as all our colleagues were disappointed," he told Macquarie Media radio on Wednesday.

Banks announced that she would not re-contest her seat at the next general election in the wake of the downfall of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who was deposed by the Liberal Party in August, with Morrison installed as his replacement.