Friday 17 November 2017

Kelly's bid to lead Labour dashed as no TDs back him

Labour TDs Sean Sherlock, Alan Kelly and Brendan Howlin at the Dáil yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Labour TDs Sean Sherlock, Alan Kelly and Brendan Howlin at the Dáil yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke

Niall O'Connor and Barry Lennon

Alan Kelly's hopes of becoming the next Labour Party leader look set to be dashed after none of his fellow TDs committed to supporting his nomination.

With nominations due to close at midday today, Mr Kelly had yet to secure a seconder among his fellow Labour TDs.

This is despite calls from a large number of members for a contest to be held to succeed Joan Burton.

Sources within the Kelly camp last night said it looked unlikely he would secure the backing of any of his six colleagues in the Dáil.

If such a scenario materialises, former Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin would be the only candidate, therefore eliminating the need for an election.

Cork East TD Sean Sherlock yesterday said he was keeping his options open in relation to the leadership - but sources say he is highly unlikely to run.

As reported by the Irish Independent yesterday, Limerick TD and former Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan came under pressure from within her own constituency to back Mr Kelly and therefore force a contest for the leadership.

Former branch chairperson Gerry Burke resigned from the party yesterday over the issue.

He told the Irish Independent last night there is "deep annoyance" over the prospect of members not being allowed to vote in a contest. The issue of the leadership dominated a Labour Party event in Dublin.

Mr Kelly said it would be up to the members of the parliamentary party to decide if there was a contest, other than outgoing leader Joan Burton and chairperson Willie Penrose as they have said they will not declare support either way.

"So if there is more than one person putting themselves forward . . . it falls down to three people to assess what is the right thing for membership of approximately 4,000," he said.

"I believe contest is healthy but whether one will be elected or not, that's really one for internal discussion," added Mr Kelly.

Irish Independent

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