'This is not an election budget:' Taoiseach rejects label ahead of Tuesday

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has insisted Tuesday's budget is "not an election budget" despite a flurry of leaks confirming it will focus on key voter groups Fine Gael needs to stay in power.

'This is not an election budget:' Taoiseach rejects label ahead of Tuesday

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has insisted Tuesday's budget is "not an election budget" despite a flurry of leaks confirming it will focus on key voter groups Fine Gael needs to stay in power.

Mr Varadkar denied the label at Fine Gael's presidential dinner at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin on Saturday night just 24 hours after the Government revealed an extra €1.1bn in corporation tax funds have been found.

Speaking to reporters before giving a key note speech to an audience of party members, Mr Varadkar said four times in 11 minutes the budget will "put money back in people's pockets".

However, despite also referencing income tax threshold rises, USC cuts, across the board welfare rises and other key voter moves, he denied the budget is designed to safeguard Fine Gael for a potential snap election the moment Brexit is resolved.

No, I wouldn't see this budget as an election budget, I would see it as one that is very much in line with our budgetary and economic strategy of recent years.

"It's actually much more in line with previous budgets... and giving people more money to put back in their pockets," he said, adding:

"If it was an election budget we'd probably be running a massive deficit or something."

During the same press conference, Mr Varadkar also side-stepped a question on how many more budgets will take place under the confidence and supply deal - which is due to run out once all parts of the budget are passed.

Asked specifically about how many more budgets can be passed, he said:

"Let's hope we get one more done on Tuesday."

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