No comment from Bruton on leadership 'push'

Fine Gael's deputy leader Richard Bruton this morning said he will not be commenting on speculation that he is going to challenge Enda Kenny for the leadership of the party.

Speaking to reporters outside his home this morning, Deputy Bruton said he will not be commenting on the reported heave until he speaks with his party colleagues about the matter.

Speculation has intensified today about a possible leadership bid by Deputy Bruton following press reports this morning saying he had told Deputy Kenny over the weekend that the FG leader no longer has his confidence.

Deputy Bruton is also reported to have personally approached members of the party front bench to canvass their support.

The developments follow opinion polls last week which saw Fine Gael fall into second place behind Labour.

When asked who they would most like to see as Taoiseach after the next General Election, just 30% of respondents in one Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll picked Mr Kenny, while 21% chose Brian Cowen, and two fifths said they wanted neither.

However party members today moved to quell stirrings of a revolt, saying now was not the right time to stage a leadership contest especially considering a FG-tabled vote of confidence in Taoiseach Brian Cowen that will take place in the Dáil tomorrow.

A number of TDs including Mayo deputy Michael Ring have meanwhile publicly said they are standing behind their leader.

The issue is expected to come to a head at a meeting of the Fine Gael front bench tomorrow.

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