FORMER speaker Bronwyn Bishop's preselection chances have been dealt a blow, with both Tony Abbott and New South Wales Premier Mike Baird writing references in support of a party official expected to run against her.
Walter Villatora is a former campaign director for Mr Baird and president of the Warringah federal conference, in Mr Abbott's seat.
He is expected to join a strong field to nominate for Liberal preselection in Mrs Bishop's Sydney seat of MacKellar, with nominations to close at 5:00pm this Friday.
Former prime minister Mr Abbott stood by Mrs Bishop during the "choppergate" scandal, enduring weeks of political damage, before she was finally forced to resign as speaker.
Mrs Bishop then switched her support to Malcolm Turnbull, when he challenged Mr Abbott to become prime minister.
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