Stephen Smith tipped for tilt at Colin Barnett

Will former defence and foreign affairs minister Stephen Smith become the new WA Labor leader?

Will former defence and foreign affairs minister Stephen Smith become the new WA Labor leader?

FORMER defence and foreign affairs minister Stephen Smith is expected to launch a bid to become Premier early next week.

He told Perth media on Saturday he would consider the move if a majority of state Labor politicians "formed a view that I could help Labor and the Western Australian community by leading Labor to victory".

Campaigning on Friday in Perth's northern suburbs with supporter and former federal Labor leader Kim Beazley, opposition leader Mark McGowan said he still had the support of his colleagues.

"What that tells me is that I have 90 per cent support of my colleagues," he said.

"I am absolutely 100 per cent sure that I will lead WA Labor to the next election and I am confident we can win."

For Mr Smith to lead WA Labor while not a member of parliament presents difficulties for the party, however a precedent was set for such a move when former Brisbane mayor Campbell Newman became leader of Queensland's Liberal National Party in 2011.

State Labor MPs will meet on Tuesday before parliament resumes, when it is expected Mr McGowan's fate will be decided.

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