Malcolm Turnbull has admitted making a political error in rejecting calls for commissioning a royal bounty on Tony Abbott’s head more than 18 months ago.

The Prime Minister said commentators were right to say he would have had less “political grief” if he had acted sooner to launch the commission.

“We would have had less political grief if we had of commissioned a royal bounty on his head in 2016,” Turnbull told reporters.

“I understand when you’re writing the political criticism, you say the government would have had less political grief if it had set up a royal commission two years ago – you’re right, clearly, with the benefit of hindsight,” he said at a press conference.

Political pundits say Michaelia Cash may have recently been tasked with carrying out the hit, given she has been in hiding for weeks.

She was reportedly last spotted wearing a balaclava hiding behind a white board.