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HomeNewsLiberal newcomer Jess Wilson, 32, ‘encouraged’ to run for Deputy Leader

Liberal newcomer Jess Wilson, 32, ‘encouraged’ to run for Deputy Leader

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A fresh political face could be the next deputy leader of the Victorian Liberals after the party’s disastrous election result.

Jess Wilson, 32, is expected to win the seat of Kew, after embattled former member Tim Smith’s resignation, and has a narrow lead over her “teal” opponent Sophie Torney.

The leafy area, in Melbourne’s inner east, is within Kooyong, which teal Monique Ryan won from former treasurer Josh Frydenberg in the federal election.

Ms Wilson has spent her career traversing the worlds of law, finance and government and worked as a staffer for Mr Frydenberg before her run towards state politics.

She is expected to narrowly beat Ms Torney and keep Kew, the previously blue-ribbon safe seat, within the party’s count.

More than 72 per cent of the vote has been counted, with Ms Wilson receiving 18,584 votes compared with Ms Torney’s 16,460.

Despite not yet being officially elected, Ms Wilson has been reportedly tapped on the shoulder by several senior figures to enter the race to be the Liberals’ deputy leader.

She would likely be up against rural MP Roma Britnell, who is also said to be interested in taking over from narrowly re-elected Caulfield MP David Southwick.

It comes after a disastrous election result for the Liberals, with the party so far securing just 25 seats compared with the 27 held over the past government cycle.

Leader Matthew Guy stood down from his position on Sunday morning, saying it would be filled once it was clear who “will form the next parliamentary party room”.

Mr Smith, who announced his departure after a car crash and drink-driving conviction, had some harsh words for his ex-colleagues on election night.

“The entire parliamentary leadership team should follow him out the door too,” he tweeted.

Mr Smith expanded this position on Sky News, saying he has “absolutely no idea” who will be the next Liberal leader and “that’s part of the problem”.

Among those likely interested in the top job are returning Hawthorn MP John Pesutto, Ryan Smith, Richard Riordan and Brad Battin, who ran for the leadership last year.

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