Joan Burton stepping down as Labour leader once successor is elected

Joan BurtonJoan Burton has resigned as leader of the Labour party – saying that she’ll go as soon as her successor is appointed. The Dublin West TD is refusing to say whether there should be a leadership contest or a so-called coronation of an agreed successor. It had been well flagged. Joan Burton was flanked by the other 11 members of the Parliamentary Labour Party as she bowed out, less than two years after getting the job. She says it was a difficult decision, but that she had had a protracted period to come to terms with it since the election. The Dublin West TD says she stands by her record, regrets that people didn’t feel the recovery quickly enough, but feels the country was a better place now than in 2011 and that’s the test of any party in Government. The former Tánaiste’s refusing to comment on who her successor should be, adding that she hoped the outcome would be in the best interests of the Labour party. Her decision though clears the way for a leadership battle – early favourite Brendan Howlin has made it clear he won’t stand in a contest, so if current deputy leader Alan Kelly declares he’s likely to be challenged by Seán Sherlock.