The West

Colin Barnett's former chief-of-staff Deidre Willmott has finally quit the Government less than three months after the Premier vehemently denied that she was poised to leave.

Ms Willmott is believed to have resigned from her job as coordinator of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) preparations this week and will leave the Government's service in two weeks time.

When reported in November that Ms Willmott was about to be shifted or dumped form her position as chief-of-staff, Mr Barnett intervened to say she would not be going anywhere and that he had "full confidence" in her.

But three days after saying he would be distraught if Ms Willmott resigned, Colin Barnett announced she would relinquish her post because of a potential conflict of interests. Ms Willmott was given the task of running preparations for the CHOGM meeting to be held in Perth in late 2011, but a Government spokesman said this morning her task was completed.

Ms Willmott got the chief-of-staff job after being forced to relinquish her pre-selection for Mr Barnett's blue ribbon seat of Cottesloe after he changed his mind about retiring and assumed the leadership of the Liberal Party just days before Alan Carpenter called the 2008 State election.

The chief-of-staff position was seen as a consolation prize for Ms Willmott, a lawyer who had previously worked at the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

But she was soon on the outer in the Premier's office with the real power behind the throne though to be Mr Barnett's long time adviser Narelle Cant.

The West Australian

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