Grylls cites succession plan as key to quitting

Daniel EmersonThe West Australian

Brendon Grylls has downplayed the role of family in his shock decision to quit the Nationals leadership and Cabinet, saying he wanted to give his successor time to establish him or herself before the next election.

And in comments likely to attract attention from the Opposition, the 40-year-old revealed he had been contemplating the move for "quite a few months" despite telling Pilbara voters they should elect him as a strong voice in Cabinet.

As tributes from Federal Nationals Leader Warren Truss flowed from Canberra yesterday, the man previously nominated by Mr Grylls as his successor - Water Minister Terry Redman - would not confirm his candidacy.

In an exclusive interview with The West Australian, Mr Grylls said his constituents would benefit from his decision to stand down as leader and Minister for Regional Development and Lands.

"They will get a better member for Pilbara because it will be more than once a fortnight (that I'm up there)," he said.

"I had to make a call about where we were going. The time is right for transition.

"I was very determined to keep Royalties for Regions going through an election cycle. I think we've done that now and so, as I was given a long opportunity to establish myself as leader, I hope the next leader gets an opportunity as well.

"I would like to think I've left the party in a better place than I found it."

Mr Grylls, who previously defended his decision to not live in the Pilbara on the grounds of his ministerial duties, indicated he was likely to move there.

The father-of-three said family had played a role in the decision, but not a dominant one.

"I never ever wanted to be the MP who said 'I'm quitting to spend more time with my family' so I'm probably a little earlier than that point," he said.

Mr Redman said Mr Grylls' resignation would trigger 100-year-old party processes which he would not speculate on but said it would be challenging for anyone to follow "one of the great leaders in the National Party".

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan described Mr Grylls' resignation as "another torpedo in the side of the Premier's ship".

Kalgoorlie Nationals MP Wendy Duncan was tipped as a good prospect for Cabinet.

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