WA Labor back McGowan again

WA Labor has reaffirmed Mark McGowan as the man to lead it into next year’s State election following a party caucus meeting this morning.

The State shadow cabinet yesterday expressed “unanimous confidence” in Mr McGowan, a stance it unanimously reiterated following this morning’s meeting.

Stephen Smith, the former defence, foreign affairs and trade minister, announced over the weekend his interest in the WA Labor leadership after reportedly being approached by a number of state MPs to take over the role.

However, a statement released by WA Labor this morning said the party supported Mr McGowan’s leadership “today and going forward” and called on Mr Smith to withdraw his challenge.

“(WA Labor) does not want Stephen Smith as leader of the State Parliamentary Labor Party (and) demands that Stephen Smith unconditionally withdraws his challenge and rules out becoming the State Labor leader,” the statement said.

In another blow to Mr Smith, Mr McGowan’s media advisor Reece Whitby was endorsed this morning as the party’s candidate to contest the newly created seat of Baldivis.

It was believed Mr Smith had his eye on the seat as a way into state politics.