POLITICS

Turnbull Dismisses Latest Abbott Rumour As 'Uninteresting Gossip'

He's the *former* PM, and he insists he plans to stay that way.

05/10/2016 11:51 AM AEDT | Updated 05/10/2016 1:54 PM AEDT
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Alex Ellinghausen, Fairfax
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott insists the Abbott ear is over.

CANBERRA -- He's denied it before and it seems he is sure to have to deny it again.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is in the news again for reportedly, perhaps, maybe, agitating behind the scenes to get "former" off his descriptor.

The backbencher, for a full 12 months since he was overthrown by Malcolm Turnbull, has been reported in Fairfax publications as telling right faction Tory politicians in the United Kingdom that he is biding his time and will be back.

The persistent whispers and perceived posturing from Abbott has extracted assurances over the past year that his leadership is "dead, buried and cremated" and that "the Abbott era is over".

The member for Warringah tweeted a denial late in the British night.

The rejection of the story as "unsourced, unattributed and unprofessional" has been accepted by Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

"I accept Tony Abbott at his word," he told Sky News. "I take it at face value. I have no doubt it is the case."

As for the man who toppled Mr Abbott?

"I'm not going to be drawn on interesting gossip or even uninteresting gossip," the Prime Minister told reporters in Sydney.

Canberra insider games. All over again.

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