Early this morning Crikey sent a short note to some key players in conservative politics … federal ministers whom we imagined might have had something to say about whether Peter Costello simply assumes the Prime Ministership at a moment of John Howard’s choosing, should the Liberals win a new term in government. This is what we said:

Dear Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, Brendan Nelson, Julie Bishop,

Much coverage has been given this morning to John Howard’s plan to retire from politics at some point in the middle of his government’s next term, should he win this year’s election. It is assumed that Peter Costello would become Prime Minister at that point.

Our question to you is this: Can you categorically assure us that you will not put yourself forward as a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party should a re-elected John Howard PM step down during the next parliamentary term?

Thanks in anticipation…

We’ve had no replies, but we’ll let you know. Just think of it as a small service to democracy and disclosure. A reality check if you like.