Coveney running traditional campaign as Varadkar just runs

Fine Gael leadership contender Simon Coveney revealed on Sunday what was said when those he assumed to be staunch supporters told him they were backing his rival Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar.

The conversations must have been excruciating.

“Many people who had very, very positive conversations with me came to me and said ‘Look Simon, I see this going one direction. I don’t want to get on the wrong side and I hope you understand,’” the Minister for Housing said.

They might have sat together at Cabinet for years. Maybe they attended each other’s weddings. Perhaps their father’s were friendly. But none of that matters in the blood sport that is leadership change, when coming second means coming last.

“That’s politics,” Coveney said.

At the launch of his policy priorities document, the polite Coveney had just one gentle dig at Varadkar, the man with the momentum, who had earlier met the press at the start line of a 5km road race in Dublin.

“I get up in the morning and go for a 5k run every now and again too.”