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Guy to step down as Victorian Liberal leader

Matthew Guy says he won't stand again for leadership of the Victorian Liberals.

Matthew Guy says he won't stand again for leadership of the Victorian Liberals. Photo: AAP

Matthew Guy is set to resign as leader of the Victorian Liberals after steering the coalition to a second election defeat in a row.

In the aftermath of Saturday’s loss, Mr Guy issued a statement confirming he would not continue as party leader.

“As soon as it is clearer which Liberal Party candidates will form the next parliamentary party room, I will call them together to elect their new leadership team,” he said on Sunday morning.

“I will not be a candidate for the position of leader.”

Mr Guy resigned as opposition leader after the coalition suffered an election thumping in 2018 before returning to the post in September 2021 by toppling Michael O’Brien.

It took Mr Guy two hours to concede the election after the outcome was called for Labor, with Mr Andrews awaiting his call before declaring victory.

“I’ve never had to make one of those calls,” the Labor leader told reporters.

“It’s obviously difficult. I was grateful that he rang. I was very grateful that he wishes me and my family all the best. I wished him and his family all the best.”

Former Liberal MP Tim Smith said deputy leader David Southwick, opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier and shadow treasurer David Davis should not recontest leadership positions.

“The entire parliamentary leadership team should follow him out the door too,” he tweeted.

The former shadow attorney general believes the loss is likely a two-term result for the Liberals, consigning the party to eight years in the wilderness.

“I can’t see us miraculously finding a leader that cuts through in 2026,” he said on Sky News.

Mr Smith said former Liberal MP John Pesutto was one possibility to take the reins but remains in the neck-and-neck battle with teal independent Melissa Lowe to reclaim his seat of Hawthorn.

Liberal frontbencher Brad Battin, who made an unsuccessful tilt at the leadership last year before Mr Guy seized the top job, wouldn’t say if he would back Mr Pesutto to become leader.

“I’ll back what I think in my own mind and my own heart is best for the Victorian Liberal Party,” he told ABC Radio.

Nationals MP Danny O’Brien said breaking up the coalition in the state should be looked at, with the junior partner set to pick up at least three seats.

“We haven’t had any conversations obviously on that. But I would have to say from my perspective … it’s got to be on the table,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“We need to think about what the best is not just for us but for the Liberal Party, and obviously they’re going to go through a fair bit of soul-searching in coming days, and weeks and months.”

– AAP

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