The inside story of how Leo outfoxed rival Simon
Two years of secret planning have led to Leo Varadkar's unprecedented rise to the top of Irish politics, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Simon Coveney's supporters last night discussed whether he should drop out of the leadership race as the Social Protection Minister charted a course towards a landslide victory.
However, sources say Mr Coveney is determined to fight on. Meanwhile, leading Coveney supporter TD Kate O'Connell launched a scathing attack on the Varadkar campaign last night, describing some of his backers as "choirboys".
Forty TDs, senators and MEPs have now publicly backed Mr Varadkar, with outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny's constituency colleague Michael Ring set to join their ranks today. The minister will tell a rally in Dublin today he can offer "a new kind of leadership".
"Ireland stands at a crossroads. We need new ambition to respond to the challenges that have built up, to meet the hopes, aspirations and needs of all our people," he will say.
In today's Irish Independent, we reveal the inside story of how Mr Varadkar's power play has been the result of a carefully choreographed strategy involving a small but trusted team led by junior minister Eoghan Murphy.
Key allies have told how the team drew on the experiences of the botched 2010 heave against Mr Kenny, operating on a "need-to-know basis".