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Monday 26 February 2018

Paul Ryan confident of retaining US House speaker post

Mr Ryan has upset some senior Republicans by not campaigning for Donald Trump (AP)
Mr Ryan has upset some senior Republicans by not campaigning for Donald Trump (AP)

US House speaker Paul Ryan has expressed confidence that Republicans will re-elect him to the post for the next Congress - but failed to rule out disgruntled party colleagues thwarting him.

When asked on Fox News whether he would step aside if Republicans wanted him to, Mr Ryan said: "I serve at the pleasure of our members."

He added: "I feel very good where I am."

A small number of Republicans, including members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, have suggested fellow party members should reconsider their leadership team after the November 8 elections.

House Republicans are scheduled to meet in mid-November, when Congress returns to the Capitol, to pick their leaders for next year's Congress.

Mr Ryan retains the support of a strong majority of congressional Republicans, but some are unhappy that he distanced himself from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and did not campaign for him.

Others are not certain he is conservative enough when it comes to cutting federal spending, as well as other issues.

"All the rest of this stuff will sort itself out," Mr Ryan said on Fox.

"I'm very confident where I stand with our members."

He also added he is "happy to serve".

Republicans hold a 247-188 US House majority, including three vacant seats. Democrats have been expected to narrow that gap, perhaps significantly, in next week's voting.

Even if House Republicans meeting this month nominate Mr Ryan to be the next speaker, he will need a majority - 218 votes - to ensure his re-election to that job when the new House convenes on January 3.

A significant reduction in Republican seats would mean that just a handful of dissident Republicans could keep Mr Ryan from being speaker.


Press Association

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