Alan Kelly steps up campaign to become new Labour leader

Labour TD Alan Kelly has noticeably stepped up his campaign to become the next leader of his party.

Mr Kelly was seen walking and stalking the corridors of Leinster House for a large part of the day in a bid to talk with his colleagues ahead of the race opening formally this weekend.

The former environment minister is known to be “relieved” to be out of office and is hoping to rebuild the party, focusing in on being a credible voice of Opposition in the Dáil.

Mr Kelly’s walkabout yesterday came in the wake of a strong suggestion that fellow TD Brendan Howlin is also considering contesting the race to succeed Joan Burton.

Mr Kelly is due to make a significant appearance on The Late Late Show tonight, in which he is to “signal very strongly” that he will contest the leadership.

He is likely to stop short of declaring formally because the party’s national executive will not be meeting until Saturday to initiate the process, which could take up to 45 days to complete.

Sources close to Mr Kelly have also signalled his desire to undo much of the damage done by his “power is a drug” comment in a Sunday Independent interview , during the general election campaign.

“There will lashings of apple pie and Alan the human being, I think,” said a source. “No doubt he will address the Sindo comment, and repeat the fact it was not his finest hour.”

Mr Kelly and Mr Howlin are among four of Labour’s current seven TDs who have expressed interest in contesting the leadership.

Former education minister Jan O’Sullivan and Cork East TD Sean Sherlock are also believed to be considering entering the race.

However, some in the party want to avoid an election and favour agreeing a consensus candidate.


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