Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls. Picture: AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy
Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls. Picture: AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Nicholls under pressure if LNP fails

TIM Nicholls will likely face a challenge for the LNP leadership at the first party room meeting should the LNP fall short of winning enough seats to govern as exit polling suggests.

A senior LNP source said a ballot would be held at the next party room meeting following the election, likely within the next week.

Contenders will likely include Scott Emerson, John-Paul Langbroek, Tim Mander, David Crisafulli and deputy leader Deb Frecklington.

But Mr Emerson will need to hold on to his own seat of Maiwar and with a healthy margin to be a true contender.

Mr Nicholls took over as Opposition Leader last year after winning a leadership battle against Lawrence Springborg.

His parliamentary colleagues had hoped his experience and economic nous would breathe new life into the LNP's bid to regain government at yesterday's election.

But the former Newman government treasurer struggled to distance himself from unpopular decisions made by the LNP during its time in office amid a concerted and effective campaign by Labor to remind voters throughout the 28-day election campaign.

Exit polling last night found the LNP had failed to claw back any ground it lost after its shock loss in 2015, with its primary vote dropping by more than six percentage points since the last election, dipping from 41.9 per cent at the January 2015 election to 35 per cent yesterday.

The LNP was trailing Labor statewide, 48 per cent to the ALP's 52 per cent, two-party preferred.

His parliamentary colleagues will need to decide if they should stick with Mr Nicholls for another three years to allow him enough time to distance himself from the his role as Campbell Newman's treasurer.