Liberal MP Craig Kelly has told a Coalition party meeting that he is resigning from the Liberal party, and will move to sit on the cross bench.
Kelly, who is the member for the seat of Hughes in Southern Sydney, handed his resignation to Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the meeting this morning, but reportedly said he will still support the government on matters of supply and confidence.
Kelly’s defection from the Liberal party, a move that has blindsided his colleagues, reduces the Morrison government’s already slim majority.
The move follows his continual push of conspiracy theories and misinformation throughout the pandemic, and his ban from posting to Facebook for one week after his violation of the social media platform’s misinformation policy.
It also comes after polling by uComms, commissioned by local community group Hughes Deserves Better, found 51 per cent of people in his electorate of Hughes believe his social media posts are “very irresponsible” and a further 20 per cent believe his posts are “irresponsible”.
With Kelly no longer representing the Liberal party, he has significantly more freedom to say what he wants.
“If I’m best to represent the constituents for my area and be faithful to the oath I took when I was sworn in as a member for Parliament, and to be able to speak frankly and fearlessly, I need to do that from the crossbench, rather than from the government backbenches,” he told Sky News.