Thursday 21 November 2019

No snap election to be held in Ireland following Fine Gael leadership contest - Varadkar

Minister Leo Varadkar.
Minister Leo Varadkar.
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

There will be no snap election in Ireland following the Fine Gael leadership contest, Leo Varadkar has said.

Reacting to the decision by Theresa May to call a surprise vote for June 8, the Social Protection Minister said he does not believe the move will have a major impact here.

However, he warned that it should be a catalyst for the parties in Northern Ireland to “redouble their efforts to put together an administration before they go out campaigning in the Westminster elections”.

He insisted the British poll will have no impact on the Fine Gael leadership race, saying he is content to allow Taoiseach Enda Kenny decide his own timeline for stepping down.

Asked whether he would follow Theresa May’s example and seek a new mandate if he becomes leader, Mr Varadkar said: “I think circumstances in Britain are very particular. I think the Opposition in Britain is in total disarray and the Conservatives are 20 points ahead in the polls.

“I’m sure or I hope the new leader of Fine Gael will give the party a bounce. I don’t think we’ll be 20 points ahead in the polls.”

He added: “We’re in a very different situation as well where we’ve entered a partnership with Independents. I think it would be wrong for the new leader of Fine Gael to pull the rug out from under people we’ve made a partnership with. I wouldn’t anticipate an early General Election in Ireland.”

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