Dennis Shanahan has today in The Oz claimed that Turnbull is being squeezed from both sides.
I've already commented on the way I think Turnbull needs to respond to the pressure coming from Government, and it isn't by going further to the right. His other problem is Costello.
There is a time-honoured method for dealing with "leadership wraiths..who are not in the fray" (as Costello is described by Shanahan). That is to smoke them out. Turnbull should stride into a party room meeting in this fortnight and announce a spill of ALL leadership positions on the basis that the speculation about whether Peter Costello wants his turn or not is damaging the party. While he is at it he can manage Julie Bishop out of the Deputy's job.
He must know he'd win and he must know that he would permanently destroy Costello. If he doesn't win the only other possible winner is Costello and Turnbull is then perfectly positioned for his return after the election as the leader denied his opportunity by the instability caused by Costello. By the way, the much held belief that Costello's parliamentary skill would shine on the opposition front bench is not currently being upheld by his wildly inconsistent performance in the media.
It is important for Turnbull to act now because he needs the issue gone before the parliament resumes for the budget in May. Now is the time.