The Conservative lawyer favored to win the pre-selection in the ultra-secure Liberal seat of Castle Hill has blocked his nomination as he criticized the Berejiklian government’s pandemic lockdowns.
Noel McCoy, a former Young Liberal president, was expected to win the coveted seat after using his support in the hard-right faction to defeat centre-right rival and incumbent Transportation Secretary David Elliott.
However, McCoy said on Thursday that an internal Liberal Party review committee had rejected his candidacy because of his outspoken opposition to COVID-19 lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations.
“I have consistently and publicly sought to defend the core values of the party – freedom and liberty – and in the more recent past have at times criticized some aspects of the policy responses of the Berejiklian and Morrison governments to COVID,” McCoy said.
“This is armed to block me.”
Following the rejection of McCoy’s nomination, Liberal Party state director Chris Stone emailed the preselectors late Friday to tell them that, due to “unforeseen circumstances”, the preselection for Castle Hill had been cancelled.
This could mean the revival of Elliott’s political career, after he withdrew his Castle Hill nomination because he lacked the factional support to win the pre-selection. Elliott gave his valedictorian speech, but had made it clear that he would like to remain in the state legislature.
McCoy, a partner at a law firm, vowed to appeal the decision to the party’s state executive and possibly take the matter to the state council of the NSW Liberal Party.
“The vetting process has revealed no integrity issues related to my candidacy,” he said.