Top Liberal follows Abbott out the door

BRIAN Loughnane, the husband of Tony Abbott's former chief of staff Peta Credlin, has resigned as federal director of the Liberal Party after 12 years in the job.

Coming in the wake of the toppling of the former prime minister, Mr Loughnane's resignation follows criticism from within Liberal ranks of the power structure at the top of the party and its potential for conflict of interest.

In February, the then honourary federal treasurer of the party, Philip Higginson, wrote of the fact the federal director was married to the PM's chief of staff: "How this party ever let a husband-and-wife team into those two key roles ... is a complete mystery."

New South Wales Liberal Party director Tony Nutt is expected to replace Mr Loughnane.