Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s allies have moved to re-endorse backbencher Craig Kelly on merit using the emergency powers of the NSW Liberal Party state executive, which would kill off any preselection.

Moderate MPs are divided over the proposal and some believe it represents an assault on party democracy but have been told to “shut your pie hole”.

“Merit will be used to select Craig Kelly, who is a climate change denier and a supporter of the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister,” Morrison told reporters.

“It’s is even better than democracy.”

Kelly has privately conceded he has no chance of retaining preselection in the face of democracy.

Female Liberal MPs, on the other hand, will all face preselection challenges.

Image: ABC