Conservative think tank Menzies House has withdrawn a swingeing attack on Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey by a “senior Coalition staffer” that was published on its website last night.

The piece was described by Menzies House in a postscript as “written by a Liberal Party staffer who requested their name not be revealed. Menzies House can confirm, however, that we have verified that the author does indeed work as a senior adviser for a member of the Shadow Ministry.”

It was a savage attack on Hockey over his statements yesterday on the funeral of asylum seekers, which implicitly criticised both Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott, who had supported the shadow Immigration minister. Morrison has since admitted that the “timing” of his comments was “insensitive and inappropriate”.

The piece accused Hockey of undermining his colleagues, breaching party policy and attempting to “manipulate this and grandstand for his own personal advantage. And that is unacceptable… Proof that Hockey is completely ill-eqipped to ever be a member of the leadership team of the Liberal Party” The “Joe Hockey circus” needed to come to an end, in the unnamed author’s opinion.

“It is no secret that many Liberal MP’s desire a new Shadow Treasurer who does not activly attack the Party line; Someone who does not seek personal attention at every waking turn; Someone who can stay true to Liberal values of small government when formulating policy. We are beyond the point of backbencher despair — we are at the point of open revolt.

“While Shadow Cabinet can continue to put on a brave face, there can be no denying the panic that is spreading through the ranks as members view the destruction Hockey is causing. There can be no doubt that there needs to be a mechanism found quickly within the party to replace Hockey as Shadow Treasurer without resulting in a wider bloodbath… After all, we have a far safer pair of hands ready in Andrew Robb.”

This morning Menzies House pulled the piece from its site.

Its reasoning: “Unfortunately in this case the editorial team has decided to remove this post as it unfairly places suspicion on a very small number of people who were not responsible for writing the article.”

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