At least two Leo Varadkar supporters are set to switch sides and vote for Simon Coveney members of his team have claimed.

The Cork South Central TD is battling hard to win back some of the 46 TDs, senators and MEPs that have come out to publicly support Mr Varadkar in the Fine Gael leadership contest.

Mr Coveney, who has secured the public endorsement of 21 members of the parlimentary party, believes that he has already turned two Varadkar supporters and they will now vote for him during Friday’s ballot.

After claiming they have already switched two parliamentary members, his team of supporters are now lobbying Mr Varadkar’s supporters with the aim of securing the votes of a further four members of the Oireachtas as they believe they could seal the victory if they do so.

Campaign manager Damien English said: “We are chasing down all the votes we can in all three electorates.” However he added that there is “still a gap to close” and Mr Coveney will rely on the support of members.

Dun Laoighaire TD Maria Bailey, was among the TDs and senators who traveled with Mr Coveney in Cork and Limerick yesterday said: “All of those who stood by Simon and backed him are all sticking with him and we are doing whatever we need to do. We are very optimistic and the members are very grateful that there has been a competition.”

Mr Coveney is also working hard to secure the vote of around 20,000 grassroots members who are eligible to ballot around the country this week. But he will have to get some TDs and senators to switch sides as they have 65% of the total vote.

Councillors have 10% of the vote while members will have a 25% say.

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