Still a two horse race as Frances Fitzgerald rules herself out of leadership contest

The Tánaiste and Justice Minister has ruled herself out of the Fine Gael leadership race.

Frances Fitzgerald says she did seriously consider it, was touched by the encouragement and support she received, but has decided entering the race is not the right decision for her.

Meanwhile nominations for the next leader have formally opened.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney will hand his in at Fine Gael headquarters this morning (1130) and launch a website.

And Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar is expected to reveal his campaign website later.