John Howard, Bruce Baird voice support for Gladys Berejiklian's Warringah bid

Support for former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian’s potential bid to run in next year’s federal election is continuing to grow, with two Liberal stalwarts joining the chorus.

Ms Berejiklian has yet to make any public comments about whether she is considering running in the Sydney seat of Warringah, after nominations for preselection were extended.

But, former prime minister John Howard and NSW Liberal heavyweight Bruce Baird have both offered messages of support to Ms Berejiklian to contest Tony Abbott’s old seat.

Mr Abbott has publicly voiced his support for Ms Berejiklian to run, echoed by current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Now Mr Howard has also voiced his support.

But, Mr Baird – who directly encouraged the former premier to run – voiced some concern about the risk of nominating Ms Berejiklian while she is under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

According to Nine Newspapers, Mr Baird – the father of former premier Mike Baird and a former federal MP – conceded there were some “downsides” to any potential bid.

“The concern is if the report that comes down is more adverse than people are expecting,” he said.

Mr Howard told The Daily Telegraph he would “of course support her running if she chose to do so”.

ICAC could hand down its findings into whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public’s trust or had a conflict of interest during her secret relationship with former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire as early as this month

It is also considering whether she failed in her duty to report suspected corruption, and whether she encouraged that sort of behaviour by turning a blind eye.

Earlier this week, Mr Morrison said he thought Ms Berejiklian would “be great” if she ran and won in the federal election.

“As I’ve said before, the way that Gladys Berejiklian has been treated over these events, I think has been shameful. I’ve been very clear about that,” he said.

“If she wished to join our team, she would be very welcome.”

John Howard, Bruce Baird voice support for Gladys Berejiklian’s Warringah bid

Camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison has voiced his support for Ms Berejiklian to run for the seat of Warringah on a Liberal ticket, but Ms Berejiklian has yet to make any public comments. Credit: News Corp Australia

Incumbent Warringah MP independent Zali Steggall told the ABC earlier this week it was “extraordinary and wrong” of Mr Morrison and senior government ministers to be “undermining and calling into question” the work of the ICAC.

“This is really important work that is being done on behalf of the public to hold government to account, to pull back the curtain and make sure there is no corruption,” she said.

“They are calling into question the importance of that work, and even calling into question the motivation of doing that work, which I think borders on defamatory.

“We should be seeing leadership to call for more accountability, not undermine accountability.”

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