Simon Harris responds to leaked FG WhatsApp messages

Leaked Fine Gael WhatsApp messages showed the Tánaiste supporting Harris

Simon Harris has responded to leaked Fine Gael WhatsApp messages which showed that he could be in the running for Fine Gael party leader. 

Earlier today, The Irish Times reported on a leaked Fine Gael WhatsApp conversation which implied that Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is encouraging Simon Harris to run for the party leadership. 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan posted a message in the group on Sunday morning saying "He hasn't announced yet but Frances is encouraging him. He wants out of Health."

Despite the nature of his comments a spokesperson for Minister Flanagan later described them as "tongue in cheek".

Minister for Health Simon Harris has since responded to the leaked WhatsApp messages by saying that he will stay in his current position. 

Mr Harris said in a tweet "Working as hard as I possibly can in my job as Health Minister. Lots to do! No intention of engaging in idle speculation."

One of the front-runners for the Fine Gael party leadership Simon Coveney, spoke earlier today on RTÉ's The Week In Politics saying that he hopes there's a calm and quick transition to a new leader soon after Enda Kenny returns from the US in March. 

Coveney said "We have an obligation to the country, given the fact that Fine Gael are leading the Government at the moment, that this is managed in an orderly, sensible way and not through threats from people within the party and I think also the Taoiseach is owed that."