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The Sydney Morning Herald

Court's humiliation complete

Author: David Reardon
Date: 24/02/2001
Words: 241
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News And Features
Page: 11
With his pride in tatters, the West Australian Liberal Leader, Mr Richard Court, was forced to resign yesterday after his plan to parachute in the Federal MP Ms Julie Bishop as his successor fell apart amid party brawling.

A grim-faced Mr Court told a packed media conference that he was left with no option but to resign as leader after Ms Bishop pulled out of an agreement to leave Canberra for State politics.

``My commitment as the leader was based on this proposal and, given this decision, it is now the appropriate course of action for me to stand down as the leader of the party," Mr Court said.

Bundled out of power by Labor a fortnight ago, the 54-year-old former premier's humiliation was complete yesterday when he relinquished his nine-year grip on the leadership and announced he would leave politics within the next few months.

On Wednesday Mr Court revealed he would keep his seat warm for Ms Bishop until her three-year term as MP for the seat of Curtin expired at the next Federal election. The secret deal sparked a wave of protests among Liberals. The former deputy leader, Mr Colin Barnett, who narrowly failed in a leadership challenge on Wednesday, accused Mr Court of an ``act of treachery".

Ms Bishop said yesterday that it was in the best interests of the party to put an end to the bitterness the deal had caused.

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