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Vaile vows to lead Stoner crusade into Canberra

MARK VAILE, the former deputy prime minister, will come out of political retirement to help Andrew Stoner get to Canberra if the Deputy Premier decides to move to federal politics.

MARK VAILE, the former deputy prime minister, will come out of political retirement to help Andrew Stoner get to Canberra if the Deputy Premier decides to move to federal politics.

Mr Stoner is being urged by National Party colleagues to run against Rob Oakeshott in the federal seat of Lyne at the next election, with the offer to back him in as deputy to Tony Abbott in a Coalition government.

"If Andrew ran, I'd put my hand up to be his campaign director," Mr Vaile told The Sun-Herald yesterday.

It was Mr Vaile's resignation from Parliament that brought on the 2008 Lyne byelection, won by Mr Oakeshott.

Mr Vaile said Mr Stoner would have a "really good shot" at replacing Warren Truss as Nationals leader.

"Andrew, along with a few others, will be the backbone of the NSW government and that experience of working in a coalition would be invaluable to Tony Abbott," he said.

Mr Vaile also took a swipe at Senator Barnaby Joyce - who is looking to move to the lower house, possibly by way of running against the independent Tony Windsor in New England - saying he should "stay in Queensland".

The Premier, Barry O'Farrell, said Mr Stoner would win Lyne if he chose to run. "But I need him here," he said.

Mr Stoner has ruled nothing out. "He is focused on delivering for NSW with Mr O'Farrell but appreciates the need for a strong field in Lyne in order to defeat Rob Oakeshott and the federal Labor government," a spokeswoman said.


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