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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 16°C
Eamonn Farrell
# ge 2020
Simon Harris 'not worried' amid speculation he could be next to face no confidence vote
Opposition members are understood to be considering tabling a motion of no confidence against the health minister in the new year.

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris has said he is not worried that a possible future motion of no confidence in him could bring about an early general election. 

Opposition members are understood to be considering tabling a motion of no confidence against the health minister in the new year.

A similar motion against Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy was defeated last week, but only by a narrow figure. 

With the resignation of the embattled Cork Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy from the Dáil and John McGuinness’s promise last week that he would break ranks with his Fianna Fáil colleagues and vote against the government next time out, the result of the next confidence vote will be far tighter. 

Some in Leinster House are now speculating another such motion, this time tabled against Harris, could pass, resulting in the Taoiseach deciding to call an early election. 

While in practice the government could simply replace a minister in the event of them losing a confidence vote, during last week’s motion the government line was that the motion concerning the housing minister was a ‘proxy’ vote on the government. 

A government spokesperson stated that if the motion were to pass, the government could not operate or function, and that the Taoiseach would seek to call an election.

When asked about a possible future motion of no confidence being tabled against him and whether he was worried it would bring about an election, Harris told yesterday: 

“No, only the opposition can cause one if they decide to put down a motion.”

Harris said an general election would take place in 2020, but would not go into specific dates, other than stating it will be in the first half of the year. 

“I am so looking forward to the point in 2020 where we have a general election,” he said -  adding that the media, while scrutinising government health policy, must also scrutinise the opposition’s promises when it comes to health. 

“I am so looking forward to it. I am so looking forward to it, because you’re going to get to see through the opposition,” he said.

He also said he “can’t wait” to “go head-to-head with the opposition” in relation to issues regarding health, housing, and indeed a raft of other issues.

“So bring that on,” he said.

In relation to should the opposition decide to engage in any more political stunts, that’s entirely a matter for them.

The health minister said that he would “proudly stand over” the progress the government had made on health, citing achievements like free GP care for children

I’m looking forward to that debate, and I’m looking forward to hearing other people put forward alternatives, because that’s what they’re going to actually have to do and we haven’t seen that from the opposition, so we’ll have a chance to have that contest.

In the run up to the next general election, Harris said Fine Gael will have an opportunity to present “very ambitious plans” in relation to health care

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