Tony Abbott admits being drunk in Parliament for vital vote

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has finally admitted sleeping through an important vote in 2009 after a night of excessive drinking.

On an upcoming episode of TV show The House, Mr Abbott admitted he was inebriated and had passed out at his office in Parliament, causing him to miss voting on a proposed solution to the global financial crisis (GFC).

Mr Abbott had never previously confirmed that alcohol was the main reason he missed the vote. Originally, he said he was asleep in his office because he had been helping with bushfire recovery efforts four nights earlier and hadn't yet caught up on sleep.

He also shut down a journalist in 2009 who asked if he had been drunk, telling the Sunday Telegraph it was an "impertinent question" before hanging up.

But now, it appears Mr Abbott has decided to come clean. He toldThe House host Annabel Crabb that he and two other MPs had indeed drunk too much the night before the GFC vote.

"There was one famous occasion when Peter Costello, Kevin Andrews and I hung out rather a long time here," Mr Abbott explained.

"I think quite a few bottles of wine were consumed by the three of us. Peter was close to leaving at that stage, and I think all of us were in a mellow and reflective mood, so the reflections went on for longer, and later, than they should have.

"The impact was rather greater than it should have been. I think I famously slept through several divisions.

"I lay down, and the next thing I knew it was morning."

The admission will be a satisfying revelation for Australian politician Wayne Swan, who over the years has repeatedly called Mr Abbott out for being drunk that night.

The full episode of The House, from which Mr Abbott's comments were taken, airs in Australia on September 5.