February 8, 2015 / 10:34 PM / in 3 years

Australian PM survives leadership challenge

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott survived a challenge to his leadership after his ruling Liberal Party on Monday voted down an attempt to unseat him after weeks of infighting.

Australia's opposition leader Tony Abbott tells reporters that he will offer the independents serious roles if they back him to form government, during a news conference held in Parliament House, Canberra, in this August 24, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Andrew Taylor/Files

A secret party room ballot to declare the positions of party leader and deputy leader vacant was voted down 61 votes to 39, chief party whip Philip Ruddock told reporters.

The motion was brought on Friday by Western Australian MP Luke Simpkins after mounting criticism of Abbott’s leadership, culminating in his awarding an Australian knighthood to Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip.

Reporting by Lincoln Feast and Matt Siegel; Editing by Dean Yates

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