Fine Gael leadership race continues

John Mc Gahon pledges support for Leo Varadkar in Fine Gael leadership race

John Mc Gahon pledges support for Leo Varadkar in Fine Gael leadership race

Leo Varadkar has secured the backing of both Clare Fine Gael TDs in the Fine Gael leadership battle.

"She said: "(Leo) is committed, intelligent and determined.

"Fine Gael must be a party that can win support from all parts of the country and from people of all backgrounds".

Mr Varadkar now has the support of 45 members of the parliamentary party which equates to 40% in the overall contest. This comes despite Varadkar compiling several notable and high profile supporters since announcing his candidacy, including Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald.

He now has a virtually unassailable lead as Simon Coveney would require the support of around three quarters of Councillors and the wider Fine Gael membership.

With just hours to go before the nomination deadline, the Fine Gael leadership race is hotting up.

Following the news that Enda Kenny will retire as Fine Gael leader effective from midnight last night, BoyleSports have reported that Leo Varadkar is the firm 2/5 favourite to succeed him as party leader.

Mr Varadkar was backed by senior party members yesterday, including Paschal Donohoe, the public expenditure minister, Regina Doherty, the government chief whip, and John Deasy, a Waterford TD.

Clare TD and Junior Minister Pat Breen is the latest to join the Varadkar camp, announcing it this morning. "Above all, he has vision, and that's very important if you want to be a leader".

Mr Varadkar is now leading in the contest against his party colleague, Cork minister Simon Coveney, despite the fact that he will not formally launch his campaign until tomorrow. As of yet, Coveney has no definite votes of support from Louth County Council councillors.

Mr Varadkar, who is the minster for social protection, officially launched his campaign in Dublin on Saturday.

Mr Coveney has the pledged support of 20 members of the parliamentary party.

Under Fine Gael's electoral college system, TDs, Senators and MEPs account for 65% of the vote to elect a party leader.

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