Varadkar happy to take part in TV debate on role

Fine Gael leadership hopeful Leo Varadkar has said he is willing to enter TV debates with other contenders.

The Social Protection Minister also plans to seek suggestions within Fine Gael about changes to the leadership or the role of Taoiseach.

It is understood a number of broadcasters, including TV3, have informally approached potential successors to Mr Kenny.

Mr Varadkar said that he would not encourage any negative campaigning during the leadership race.

This comes after weekend reports that his side is prepared to wage a “war” against other contenders, namely Housing Minister Simon Coveney. However, Mr Varadkar said his team wanted an amicable race.

“I think it is very important that, between now and the campaign ... we all understand that we are in the same party and we all understand we have to work together afterwards for the good of the party and the good of the country,” he said.

Asked if he was prepared to engage in TV debates, he said: “I would be very happy to take part in a TV debate but the main thing in the Fine Gael rules is the number of regional hustings for our party members and that will be the key focus.”

TV3 said it was interested in hosting the debates, but nothing was arranged yet.

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