How far did David Oldfield’s talks about rejoining the Liberal Party go? Following our report yesterday, Liberals have been coy on the subject – on and off the record – in the Sydney Morning Herald today:

David Oldfield… has sounded out the prospect of rejoining the Liberal Party – with little joy.

Sources said he had recently approached Liberal parliamentarians, including David Clarke, MLC, and Legislative Assembly member, Chris Hartcher. The overtures were conveyed to senior party figures in the past month, but appear to have come to nothing.

“There have been no serious approaches or discussion [about David Oldfield rejoining the party]. Is he rejoining the party? The answer is categorically ‘no’,” the Liberals’ state director, Graham Jaeschke, said yesterday.

Mr Oldfield told the Herald last week his rejoining the Liberals was “not a matter under consideration,” but he admitted the matter had previously been discussed.

That’s exactly what our sources say – but they have more to add. Crikey understands some very interesting leadership and factional dynamics may have been involved here.

Deep Throat is in the news at the moment. We know of two NSW Liberal Deep Throats. One was doing it for factional reasons, to scuttle the right – and a little bit of enlightened self interest regarding preselection. The other appears to have had more interesting motivation – embarrassing NSW opposition leader John Brogden.

By yesterday morning Crikey was hearing that NSW moderates wanted Oldfield firmly rejected, fearful of perceptions of ever-increasing hard right influence in the local party – and that the prime minister’s office was concerned.

The right then wised up. They’ve only just taken over control of the NSW Liberal state executive. They realised that while they have the power to ram through decisions, they have to take the flak as well.

Good move. Their moderate rivals knew any decision to deal with Oldfield would give them a very effective weapon to belabour the jihadists with. Some wannabes, however, thought a deal would make it easier to dispose of Brogden and install a new leader.

Whatever the case, the Oldfield plan now seems dead – but more may trickle out. And our sources say that there is fear at how Oldfield will respond. It looks as if more was said than the NSW Libs are fessing up to.