'No matter what I say or do people are linking it to the leadership of Fine Gael' - Leo Varadkar

Minister Varadkar spoke about the future of social protection and welfare reform at the MacGill Summer School yesterday

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Leo Varadkar has joked he is waiting for the moment he sits on a toilet and a commentator decides it is part of a bid for the Fine Gael leadership.

The Social Protection Minister told reporters everything he has done for the past six months has been seen as a leadership bid.

Leo Varadkar and Housing Minister Simon Coveney are seen as the favourites to replace Enda Kenny.

Minister Varadkar has himself indicated he would love to lead Fine Gael "whenever a vacancy arises".

However, he thinks it is an unfair characterisation to judge every move he makes in light of a potential future leadership bid.

He was speaking this morning after comments he made at the MacGill Summer School, where he proposed legislation linking social welfare payments to the cost of living or average earnings.

"No matter what I say or do for the last six months people are linking it to the leadership of Fine Gael," he told reporters.

"I'm the Minister for Social Protection - these are my responsibilities. I attend the Summer School, and what am I going to talk about?

"Of course I'm going to talk about the future of social protection and welfare reform."