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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018

Arthur Spring "considering" bid for Labour top job, Kelly making statement today

Brendan Howlin ruled himself out last night, while the party’s still awaiting an announcement from junior minister Alex White.

Arthur Spring
Arthur Spring
Image: Youtube/Screengrab

Updated 10am

ARTHUR SPRING, THE nephew of former Labour leader Dick Spring and one of the ‘gang of eight’ who supported a no confidence motion in Eamon Gilmore, is considering running for the party leadership, he confirmed this morning.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said he was thinking about putting his name forward for the leader and deputy leader positions and that he had parliamentary party members willing to propose and second him for both positions.

The Kerry North-West Limerick TD said he would consider whether he had enough support before making a decision.

He also said he had some “soul searching” to do before deciding if he was the right candidate, and that he would be devising a plan for the “re-engagement of the Labour Party with the Irish people”.  

Spring said anyone who sought the job would have to have “a level of knowledge of a particular generation, and — without getting ageist on this — a level of passion and energy”.

He disagreed with comments made by other backbenchers that a clean-out of the party’s entire front-bench was needed, saying there should be a ”mix of experience, energy and youth”.

Other contenders

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton declared her candidacy for the role yesterday as anticipated, but Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has ruled himself out.

Junior minister Alex White, who has been linked with the top job, is expected to make a statement confirming his intentions in the next few days.

Meanwhile Alan Kelly, junior minister in the Department of Transport, is set to make a statement outlining his intentions outside Leinster House at 10.30am.

He is expected to run for the deputy leadership of the party.

The Tipperary North politician said earlier this week that in the wake of Eamon Gilmore’s resignation announcement that he would put his name forward for either the leadership or deputy leadership.

Other potential deputy leadership candidates emerging this morning include Waterford TD Ciara Conway and the Cork South-West deputy Michael McCarthy.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell 

Yesterday: ‘The limits of austerity have been reached’: Joan Burton confirms her Labour leadership bid

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

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