Monday 20 November 2017

Day of lobbying before leadership confidence vote

Enda Kenny's supporters and opponents were beginning an intense 24 hours of lobbying today ahead of a confidence vote in the Fine Gael leader.

Nine rebel frontbench TDs have led the charge against Mr Kenny but it is believed about 30 front and backbench deputies will stand behind the Mayo TD.

Both sides claim they have secured a majority of the 70-strong parliamentary party.

If Mr Kenny loses the vote it is expected his former second in command Richard Bruton and at least one other senior figure will throw their hats into the ring to contest the leadership.

The party's 51 TDs, 15 Senators and four MEPs meet tomorrow to debate the leadership and vote.

The TDs supporting a coup instigated by sacked TD Mr Bruton are spokesman Denis Naughten, Leo Varadkar, Olwyn Enright, Olivia Mitchell, Brian Hayes, Simon Coveney, Billy Timmins, Michael Creed and Fergus O'Dowd.

Mr Kenny warned them he is planning a reshuffle on Monday - if he survives Thursday's confidence vote.

But in a surprise move designed to heal damaging rifts, Mr Kenny also offered to wipe the slate clean if he wins the party's support and possibly reappoint his opponents.

The rebel frontbenchers were told they would be considered for a return to the shadow cabinet if Mr Kenny retains power.

Press Association

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