Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has fended off a challenge from Barnaby Joyce to remain leader of the Nationals, as Parliament resumes this week.

The leadership spill occurred at a party room meeting on Tuesday morning ahead of the first sitting day of Parliament for 2020. The deputy leadership position had already been vacated after the resignation of Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie.

Queensland MP David Littleproud, who is the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, was elected by the partyroom as deputy leader of the Nationals.