Fine Gael politicians warned: 'stay out of UK political party leadership issues'

Fine Gael politicians warned: 'stay out of UK political party leadership issues'

Fine Gael politicians have been ordered to "stay out of UK political party leadership issues" before British prime minister Theresa May's no confidence motion result this evening.

Government ministers, TDs, senators and MEPs were warned in a text this morning to avoid any doorstep media events, tweets or social media commentary due to concerns any comments could influence events in Westminster.

"UK leadership - No tweets or social media commentary, no doorsteps, no interviews, no comment - stay out of UK political party leadership issues," one of two morning messages to Fine Gael politicians from the party's press office and the Department of Foreign Affairs read.

A second message continued by advising politicians that if there are asked by journalists about events in Westminster they should "shut it down with: 'This is a matter for the UK and we are making no comment on it'."

While a senior Government source initially denied the existence of any messages to Government politicians this morning, a second senior source later clarified the existence of the messages by saying:

"The message this AM was about staying away from the UK matters" and claiming it is otherwise "business as usual".

The existence of the messages - which were not sent to Independent Alliance members - has underlined the deep political sensitivity with the Brexit stand-off and Ms May's unclear political future.

A vote on Ms May's future sought by her own Conservative Party will take place between 6pm and 8pm today, with the results expected to be known by 9pm

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