Tuesday 16 July 2019

Alex White says Leo Varadkar 'has no issue' about television debate line-up

Minister Alex White
Minister Alex White
John Downing

John Downing

LABOUR’s Alex White has insisted there is 'no problem' over his being chosen to lead the Government’s side in the last RTE television debate on the same-sex marriage referendum.

RTE sources confirmed that Health Minister Leo Varadkar – who has publicly said he is gay – was lined up to do tomorrow’s landmark television debate closing the government campaign.

But the Government insisted that the slot had to go to Communications Minister, Alex White, who is Labour’s campaign director. The change was seen as continuing coalition tensions as the general election draws nearer.

However, today Mr White insisted that he was always supposed to do the debate on Prime Time tomorrow night. He said RTE talked about three slots: one for Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald; one for Fine Gael campaign director Simon Coveney; and the last one for himself on Labour’s behalf.

“There is absolutely no problem between myself and Leo. I look forward to seeing him tonight, he’s on with Claire Byrne. There’s plenty of coverage and plenty of issues to be teased out,” the Communications Minister said.

Mr White said the issue of surrogacy must be not dragged into the referendum debate. He also insisted that a “Yes” vote on Friday will not raise conflicts for church teaching in schools on marriage.

The Labour TD also said he would like to see his party doing better in opinion polls.

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