The Independent reports:

Leo Varadkar is the new leader of Fine Gael and on course to become Ireland’s first gay Taoiseach. The Social Protection Minister got the support of 51 TDs, senators and MEP to get over the line despite losing the popular vote.

Massive cheers greeted Mr Varadkar as he arrived at the count centre in the Mansion House shortly before the result was declared. In total 10,842 of the party’s 21,000 member voted, with 7,051 siding with the Cork candidate. Some 3,772 voted for Mr Varadkar. There were 19 spoiled votes.

Mr Varadkar won the votes of 123 councillors, against 100 who went for Mr Coveney. But it was his popularity among his Leinster House colleagues that ensured victory. The vast majority of the parliamentary party, who make up 65pc of the electorate, have publicly supported Mr Varadkar since the early days of the campaign.

Mr Varadkar will automatically take over from Enda Kenny but must wait until Tuesday, June 13 before formally being elected Taoiseach. The 38-year-old will be the youngest ever Taoiseach and the fourth openly-gay world leader after Belgium, Iceland and Luxemburg.