Former prime minister escalates conservative opposition to a free vote, despite previously saying future governments would not be bound by plebiscite

Tony Abbott says the Liberal party should take a plebiscite policy to the next federal election, backtracking on his clear statement in 2015 that government MPs should not be bound on same-sex marriage in the next parliament.

In a tactical public escalation of the conservative position ahead of a party room showdown on same sex marriage in Canberra next week, Abbott used his weekly interview on 2GB to argue Malcolm Turnbull did not have flexibility to change the party policy for the next federal election.

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