A Nationals frontbencher has accused disgruntled colleagues of promoting a party turncoat to spite leader Michael McCormack.
Queenslander Llew O'Brien was made deputy speaker of the House of Representatives against the federal government's wishes, with the support of Labor, crossbenchers and a handful of Nationals.
Member for Indi Helen Haines, who sits on the crossbench, wouldn't confirm who she voted for when contacted, but The Border Mail understands she supported Mr O'Brien.
Mr O'Brien was elected with 75 votes, while Damian Drum - the coalition's nomination - received 67 votes.
Labor had 64 votes.
The Canberra Times confirmed of the six crossbenchers, the Greens' Adam Bandt and independents Bob Katter, Andrew Wilkie and Dr Haines are known to have voted for Mr O'Brien.
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Zali Steggall and Centre Alliance Senator Rebekha Sharkie refused to say who they voted for, but if they voted for Mr O'Brien, then five votes came from the government benches. That level of defection is a significant blow for Mr Morrison.
Nationals chief whip Mr Drum, who represents Nicholls, had been endorsed by the party room to become deputy speaker.
Mr O'Brien's elevation came hours after he quit the party and announced his intention to remain as a government MP but no longer attend the junior coalition partner's meetings.
Nationals MP Michelle Landry said his election was an act of revenge by a group of rogue MPs who backed Barnaby Joyce in his unsuccessful challenge for the leadership of the party.
"I am disappointed with what has happened," she said.
- AAP with The Canberra Times