Rightwingers in the party feel betrayed over what was understood to be a moratorium on any change to abortion law

In 2010, with the Liberal party in New South Wales within striking distance of forming government for the first time in 16 years, the then opposition leader, Barry O’Farrell, helped broker a peace deal between the party’s warring factions.

The handshake deal between the moderate powerbroker Michael Photios and rightwing standard-bearer David Clarke settled the party’s preselections going into the 2011 election, and allowed the Liberals to sit back and watch as Labor imploded.

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Read More How the NSW Liberals' peace deal imploded over abortion

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