Former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Danny Williams says he's staying out of any involvement in the Progressive Conservative leadership race.

Some people, including Tory supporter John Crosbie, accused Williams of playing a big role in applying pressure and meddling behind the scenes in the race earlier this year — which recently saw Frank Coleman dropping out as premier-designate.

"I'm going fishing in July. I'm going up to Labrador to do some salmon fishing and I'm going to try to stay as far away from that scenario as I can," Williams said of the pending leadership race.

Williams said Coleman has a right to privacy to deal with the family situation previously cited as the reason behind his removal from politics.

He added he doesn't understand criticism from individuals like Crosbie who said he was too involved.

"You know, I was disappointed in John [Crosbie] when he said it because his own son Ches came up to my office and said, 'What do you think I should do, should I seek the leadership?' and I said, 'Yes, b'y,' and I said it to half a dozen others. So the best thing for me to do is say nothing," said Williams

Williams said when he previously left politics, he spoke with fellow former premier Brian Tobin about staying entirely out of politics, but this time he means it.

Williams and former Liberal premier Brian Tobin were panellists Friday at the annual NOIA oil and gas conference in St. John's.