NSW Labor resignations confront McKay

Embattled NSW Labor leader Jodie McKay insists she has the backing of her colleagues despite two senior frontbenchers quitting within 24 hours.

Transport spokesman and touted leadership rival Chris Minns quit on Wednesday, saying his position on the Labor front bench has become “untenable”.

The Kogarah MP issued a statement on Twitter a day after shadow treasurer Walt Secord resigned, saying he could no longer serve under Ms McKay.

The resignations raised speculation that other MPs could follow suit but Ms McKay says she isn’t budging.

“Obviously Chris leaving is a blow. But I respect his decision … he’s a decent person,” she told Sky News.

He had tried and failed to win the leadership on three previous occasions, she said.

Ms McKay said she had the numbers behind her and wasn’t expecting an imminent leadership spill.

“No, absolutely not. We have solid support and we just need to get on with doing what we’re doing,” she said.

Ms McKay’s camp was on Tuesday accused of distributing a “dirt file” on Mr Minns – the man tipped to be her biggest leadership rival.

“I’m obviously very disappointed by news reports yesterday that a dirt dossier was distributed by the deputy leader (Yasmin Catley) of the Labor Party’s office,” Mr Minns said.

“In the last 24 hours I have not received any communication or explanation from the leader as to how or why this was done,” he said.

“As a result my position in the shadow cabinet is untenable and I will resign effective immediately.”

Mr Minns is being touted as a potential leadership contender after losing to Ms McKay after the 2019 election.

The state opposition has descended into infighting since its disastrous performance in last weekend’s Upper Hunter by-election.

Ms McKay’s position has been under pressure for months, and the swing against Labor at Saturday’s vote has only heightened the leadership speculation.

The dossier circulated on Mr Minns prompted Mr Secord to be the first to quit the front bench, just minutes after Ms McKay declared she had the support of the party to stay on as leader.

“I can no longer serve in a Jodi McKay-led shadow ministry,” the shadow treasurer said on Twitter.

Mr Secord said it was well known he had disagreed with Ms McKay on “policy, parliamentary and strategic decisions and directions” during the past two years.

But he said the Minns dirt file – and the denials from Ms McKay and Ms Catley that they knew about it – pushed him to the brink.

“In short it was absolutely disgusting,” he tweeted.

“Everyone here knows I think Chris Minns would make a better Labor Leader,” Mr Secord later told reporters.

But the path to leadership for Mr Minns is extremely difficult unless Ms McKay is persuaded to resign.

Since 2013, Labor Party rules require 60 per cent of caucus to vote to unseat an opposition leader as well as a vote by the party’s members.

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