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'I'm the right person at the right time': Alex White joins Joan Burton in contest for Labour leadership

The Minister of State at the Department of Health has promised to “bridge the disconnect” between his party and voters.

Updated 12.15pm 

https://vine.co/v/MdUeqrIadUu

JUNIOR MINISTER ALEX White has announced that he will contest the race to become the new leader of the Labour party.

White said that the scale of Labour’s defeat in last week’s local and European elections “demonstrates a clear disconnect with our traditional support base”.

“I believe I am the right person at the right time,” White told reporters this morning on Dublin’s recently opened Rosie Hackett bridge.

Currently Minister of State at the Department of Health, White is the second candidate in the race after Joan Burton’s announcement yesterday.

Despite Burton being the perceived favourite, White said there are “no foregone conclusions” and described her as “a good friend of mine”.

TDs Michael McNamara, Derek Nolan and Ciara Conway and senator John Gilroy are all backing White’s bid.

Outgoing Lord Mayor of Dublin City Oisin Quinn was also at the announcement.

White said that there are “no issues” with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and he did not “at any stage threaten to resign” despite confirming he was prepared to support a no confidence motion in him earlier this week.

He said the question of resigning if Gilmore remained as leader “didn’t arise” saying it was “ridiculous” to ask such questions.

White stated that “across Europe social democratic parties have been rebuffed in favour of a kind of ‘anti-politics’” that will lead to uncertainty and “market-driven capitalism”.

He said that Labour now has “an opportunity to address the deep crisis for our party – energetically and openly”.

White added that the junior coalition party needs to “listen” and “empower our party representatives, members and supporters in a way that captures their energy and their idealism, and that renews their trust”.

On Wednesday, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin told colleagues he would not be contesting his party’s top job.

More TDs are expected to throw their hat in the ring for the position of Deputy Leader, currently held by Burton.

Alan Kelly, Seán Sherlock, and Michael McCarthy have all announced their intention to run.

After devastating losses in last weekend’s elections, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore announced on Monday that he would be stepping down as leader of the party.

With reporting from Hugh O’Connell and Órla Ryan

Originally published: 07:59

Read: Three TDs want to be Labour’s second-in-command, one thinks Joan Burton would be a ‘fantastic’ leader >

‘I’m out’: Brendan Howlin tells colleagues that he doesn’t want to be Labour leader >

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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