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Burton to announce leadership bid but she won’t be alone

JOAN Burton is today expected to officially declare herself as a candidate for leader of the Labour Party.

Since Eamon Gilmore resigned as leader, senior Labour party members have been rallying support for their own contention bids.

It is understood that representatives for the Minister for Social Protection have also been making calls to party colleagues.

Although Minister Burton is currently the front-runner, she is not the only one interested in the job and several others have also been putting feelers out.

FUTURE

Junior Health Minister Alex White, who is seen as the “white knight” of the new Labour brigade according to party sources, is expected to throw his name in the hat.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said he will consider what role he has to play in the party’s future over the next “couple of days”.

And yesterday Junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly officially declared that he would be interested in either leader or deputy leader role.

However, Sean Sherlock, Junior Jobs Minister, who was seen as possible deputy leader, confirmed that he was not interested in the position.

With Minister Burton being described by party colleagues as both a “shoo-in” and a “red hot ticket” for the leadership role, she faces stiff competition from others.

A senior Labour source last night told The

The senior member stated that the new party boss should be elected in the democratic process set out in the party’s constitution and “members should not be influenced by any ministers or TDs.

The Tanaiste’s resignation came about after Labour’s disastrous performance in the local elections.

But senior Labour members said they are “disgusted” by the actions of junior party colleagues who tabled a motion of no confidence in the Tanaiste on the same day as he announced his resignation.

“I think everyone is a bit p****ed off that they did it when they knew Eamon was stepping down and they knew the perception they’d create and they tried to take advantage of that,” they told The

However, the source said that the entire party was looking forward to the hustings in the race for a leader as “they will reinvigorate Labour” and “make us all more energetic”.

A cabinet reshuffle is expected to be announced in July.

“It will take place in early July so that new ministers will have the summer to get used to their posts and read up on their portfolios before the October Budget,” the source said.

change

“A lot of younger politicians will get gigs in the next 
cabinet and a number of cabinet members will most definitely not be reappointed. There has to be change and there 
has to be substitutions so that the Government can face the next general election with strength.”

Candidates have until June 3 to officially declare themselves for the leadership of Labour before the national hustings begin. It will be voted on by the party’s 5,000 members via postal ballot and a result will be announced on July 4.

Mr Gilmore is to remain as Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs until a new leader is elected.

jfegan@herald.ie


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