Latest: Coveney campaign claims some TDs and Senators are switching sides in FG leadership vote

Latest: Coveney campaign claims some TDs and Senators are switching sides in FG leadership vote

UPDATE 3pm:It is being claimed that some of those backing Leo Varadkar in the Fine Gael leadership contest have switched sides.

A senior figure in the Simon Coveney campaign says at least two TDs or Senators who have backed Varadkar are now going to vote for Coveney.

Coveney's campaign has been targeting six members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party in an effort to switch their votes.

If all six of those are switched, and Coveney wins the support of the remaining undeclared voters, he would win the election once he gets 60% of grassroots voters.

UPDATE 2.40pm: It wouldn’t make sense to change all of the cabinet positions in a reshuffle irrespective of who wins the Fine Gael leadership race, according to Communications Minister, Michael Naughten.

Mr Naughten was speaking as between 10,000 and 11,000 Fine Gael members begin to cast their votes in the contest.

Mr Naughten said he hopes to keep his current brief regardless of who wins the leadership.

Latest: Coveney campaign claims some TDs and Senators are switching sides in FG leadership vote

EARLIER: Fine Gael says turnout in the leadership election so far is 53%.

Eight polling stations were open yesterday - including a number in Simon Coveney’s native Cork.

Polling continues this evening for more constituencies, including Leo Varadkar’s home of Dublin West.

The party says based on the figures it expects between 10,000 and 11,000 members to cast a vote in the contest.

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