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The Prime Minister, John Howard, has announced that he is remaining as leader of the Liberal Party.

This is the text of a statement released this morning by Howard’s office:

The Prime Minister made the following statement to a special Liberal Party meeting in Canberra at 10am today.

“I have given a lot of thought to my future.

“The Liberal Party has been very loyal and generous to me. I’ll always put it first. Whilever it remains in the Party’s best interests and my colleagues want me to, I’d be honoured to continue as Leader.”

Speaking to a media conference early this afternoon, the Treasurer, Peter Costello, said: “Well, it wasn’t my happiest day, put it that way.”

However, Costello pledged loyalty to the Liberal Party. Echoing words Howard used when questioned a decade ago about his loyalty to the party leader, Costello said: “Someone with a track record of loyalty to the party that I’ve shown I think doesn’t have to answer questions like that.”

  • ABC Radio News 12 noon (3m)
  • Excerpt of Peter Costello press conference (4m)
  • Costello on his track record of loyalty (16s)
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