Bill English refuses to back embattled MP Todd Barclay

Bill English refuses to back embattled MP Todd Barclay

Todd Barclay might be the youngest Member of Parliament, but he may also be about to become the youngest ever ex-Member of Parliament.

The 26-year-old's grasp on his Clutha-Southland seat is under threat with a challenge from within the National Party by Simon Flood, a 52-year-old former Merrill Lynch investment banker.

Finance Minister Bill English, who held the seat before Mr Barclay, is refusing to endorse him for a second term, meaning Mr Flood has a good chance of taking over the seat.

"It's a matter for the party. I'm not a participant. The party is doing the selection," says Mr English.

Mr Barclay has faced numerous scandals during his first term, the most contentious involving his Gore office where a number of long-serving workers quit over allegations he was secretly recording them.

It was rumoured police were involved, but Mr Barclay denies that. He says he's "not at all" worried about being rolled.

"There's a disaffected element of former staff members who aren't too comfortable with change," he says.

"We've done a really hard job over the last few years of rebuilding the electorate. I've got a lot to show in terms of achievements."

He's adamant he has the support of party delegates in Clutha-Southland.

"I love this job, I love my electorate and I put my heart and soul into it, and I want to do it again for the next three years," he says.

Prime Minister John Key says he has met Mr Flood before, but didn't know him at Merrill Lynch, where he also worked.

"Firstly, he came from a different division of Merrill Lynch, it's worth noting that," he says.

Mr Key rejects the challenge against Mr Barclay has been orchestrated by the National Party hierarchy.

"We don't engineer challenges, or stop them. If someone decides to go and challenge a sitting MP, they're free to go and do that.

"If you're a sitting MP who's working hard, that's developing your electorate, then the cards are stacked in your favour," says Mr Key.

Newshub.

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