John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

John Armstrong: MP has no choice but to fall on his sword

Aaron Gilmore. Photo / SNPA
Aaron Gilmore. Photo / SNPA

Aaron Gilmore no longer enjoys the confidence of his leader. For a backbench list MP at the very bottom end of the National Party caucus that spells curtains.

Gilmore is only deluding himself if he thinks he can keep his job.

His position is now untenable. He should, accordingly, resign from Parliament forthwith.

Gilmore's hold on his job was already shaky before yesterday's publication of text messages concerning what did or did not happen at the now-infamous dinner at Hanmer Springs' Heritage Hotel.

The contradictions between those texts and assurances from Gilmore about that evening's events are the last straw as far as John Key is concerned.

The Prime Minister has yet to force the issue by insisting the MP quit Parliament - not yet at least. However, referring the matter to party president Peter Goodfellow is a pretty big hint that expulsion from the party is on the cards if he does not, even though it would potentially be very messy.

Key is holding off for now in the hope Gilmore will read the writing on the wall and do the sensible thing if he wishes to emerge with any dignity.

Gilmore has no future as a National MP. He will be unceremoniously dumped from Parliament at next year's election by virtue of being dropped from National's list.

In the interim, he faces a pretty uncomfortable 18 months as effectively persona non grata within National's ranks. Regardless, the Prime Minister will want what is a relatively trivial matter sorted out as soon as possible.

- NZ Herald

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John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

Herald political correspondent John Armstrong has been covering politics at a national level for nearly 30 years. Based in the Press Gallery at Parliament in Wellington, John has worked for the Herald since 1987. John was named Best Columnist at the 2013 Canon Media Awards and was a previous winner of Qantas media awards as best political columnist. Prior to joining the Herald, John worked at Parliament for the New Zealand Press Association. A graduate of Canterbury University's journalism school, John began his career in journalism in 1981 on the Christchurch Star. John has a Masters of Arts degree in political science from Canterbury.

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