David Leyonhjelm Says Latham One Nation Rumours 'Utter Crap'
"He's a Liberal Democrat at the moment and I haven't heard anything to the contrary."
Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm has shot down rumours Mark Latham would be tapped as a One Nation candidate to replace Brian Burston, confirming the former Labor leader was "almost certain" to run for the libertarian party at a coming election.
As first reported by the Daily Telegraph, despite rumours Latham had been approached by Pauline Hanson as a replacement for rogue One Nation senator Burston, Leyonhjelm said Latham was already spoken for.
"He has very high integrity and I think if he was contemplating leaving us, he'd let us know," Leyonhjelm told ten daily.
Latham joined the Liberal Democrats as a member last year. The Telegraph reported Latham was being groomed for an upcoming state or federal election on that party's ticket, and Leyonhjelm confirmed this to ten daily.
"We've been talking to him about that for quite a few weeks. It's almost certain he will run, we're just not sure if it will be state or federal, upper house or lower house," the NSW senator said on Friday afternoon.
"We haven't reached a landing point yet. We are absolutely interested in him running somewhere for the party, but it is still unresolved."
On Friday it was reported Latham had been approached by One Nation. Leyonhjelm said he was confident Latham would run for the Liberal Democrats if he were to return to politics, but admitted the pair had not spoken in the last few days since the One Nation rumours had begun.
"He's been helping us form new branches [of the party] over the last few weeks. He's a Liberal Democrat at the moment and I haven't heard anything to the contrary," Leyonhjelm said.
On Sunrise on Friday, Latham refused to deny he had been approached by One Nation, only saying that four political parties had contacted him in recent times about returning to politics.
Leyonhjelm said some of the rumours around potential One Nation candidates were "bullshit".
"I wouldn't be surprised if nobody from One Nation had talked to Mark," he said, describing the claims as "utter crap".