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Jamie Briggs, an ambitious MP who overstepped the mark

When news broke of Jamie Briggs' resignation from the frontbench after an unseemly incident in a Hong Kong bar, there was sympathy from some colleagues. But not surprise.

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What Jamie Briggs didn't do in Hong Kong

Only one thing is certain about the mystery night out that cost Jamie Briggs his portfolio, it wasn't what he was in Hong Kong to do. Courtesy ABC News 24.

"He is a loose cannon on the grog," one Liberal MP said. "It was always a question of whether he would work his way out of it before it got him into trouble."

In September, the day after Malcolm Turnbull rolled Tony Abbott as leader, Briggs was filmed being pushed into a party room meeting in a wheelchair. When rumours emerged that Briggs had injured himself dancing on a marble table in a ministerial suite, his spokesman said he had "seriously injured his leg while on a run this morning".

Briggs, 38, later conceded he hurt his leg during "high jinks with the former prime minister" on the night of the spill.

"Look, I went to tackle him; I ran at him and missed and the rest is history," he said. "I then limped back to my office and licked my wounds."


Confident, burning with ambition, prickly and hardworking, Briggs has long been a divisive figure inside and outside the Liberal Party. Even those who call him a friend describe him as "ruthless" and joke about him leaking to journalists.

"He's always been very sure of himself," says one colleague - perhaps too sure of himself.

When ABC radio host Rafael Epstein described him as a "junior minister" - a common term in Canberra - he shot back by calling Epstein "a junior radio presenter" and accused him of not showing his position respect.

He never got along with former Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and tweeted the party had "improved significantly" when he tried to defect to the Nationals.

Earlier this year, he clashed with Scott Morrison over Briggs' push to ease regulations on importing cars. A passionate free marketeer, Briggs helped design Work Choices while working in John Howard's office. He has recently called for cuts to penalty rates on Sundays and public holidays.

A former flatmate and political ally of Joe Hockey, Briggs publicly said he voted for Abbott against Turnbull in September.

When reshuffling his cabinet, Turnbull made space for talented youngsters Christian Porter, Kelly O'Dwyer, Josh Frydenberg and Simon Birmingham. But not Briggs, who had been assistant infrastructure minister under Abbott. Turnbull would have dropped Briggs from the frontbench altogether had demoted small business minister Bruce Billson accepted the job of minister for cities.

Had Briggs not quit after the incident in Hong Kong, Turnbull, deeply unimpressed with his behaviour, would have sacked him.

Queensland MP Ewen Jones, who describes Briggs as a man of "immense talent", says: "I have the utmost faith he will come back".

The father-of-three has never been known for his patience. He must now decide whether it's worth a long wait on the backbench for a second chance to perhaps blow his way.