Varadkar officially launches his Fine Gael leadership campaign

Frances Fitzgerald recently declared her support for Leo Varadkar

Varadkar officially launches his Fine Gael leadership campaign

Image: campaignerleo.ie

Leo Varadkar officially launched his Fine Gael leadership campaign on Saturday, with the deadline for nominations being at 5pm this evening.  

He also recently updated his campaign website campaignforlleo.ie and released a video outlining why he thinks he should be the next Fine Gael leader. 

His campaign motto is "Courage to take us forward" and he says in the video that "politics has to be about making real things happen," and also that he wants "to broaden Fine Gael's appeal" 

So far, Varadkar has the support of 45 of the 73 members of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party in the race to be the next leader.

Coveney meanwhile has the pledged support of only 20 members of the parliamentary party.

Varadkar said he is keen that the campaign should continue, and he wants councillors and members to have their say.

Earlier, the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, junior ministers Michael Ring and Catherine Byrne, and Senator Joe O'Reilly announced they will be backing Leo Varadkar.

At Mr Varadkar's campaign launch the Tánaiste explained why she's backing him. 

He now virtually has an unassailable lead as Simon Coveney would require around three quarters of councillors and the wider membership to get elected.


Coveney's bid  

Yesterday, Simon Coveney launched his Fine Gael leadership bid, saying that he pledges "honesty" and "big ideas." He also said that the party now needs to "rebuild a strong society in Ireland".

Meanwhile, Dublin TD Kate O'Connell, who's campaigning for Coveney, recently described Leo Varadkar supporters as "choir boys" who are "singing for their supper".

Earlier this afternoon, Simon Coveney cancelled a planned media engagement in Carrigaline in Cork. 

The Housing Minister will instead spend the afternoon in discussion with party members, councillors and TD's before a campaign rally at Cork's Grand Parade at 8pm tonight.