Prime minister tells Liberal party grassroots members should have a vote in preselections, but stops short of endorsing a specific motion

Malcolm Turnbull has told the New South Wales Liberal party it must democratise and allow grassroots members to vote in preselections – a statement Tony Abbott immediately claimed as support for the conservative-backed Warringah motion.

Abbott ramped up the rhetoric ahead of Sunday’s vote on the reform, saying Turnbull had delivered “unequivocal support” for the Warringah motion, and called on disaffected conservatives to “stay in and fight” if it failed.

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