Irish PM's majority shrinks after rebel MP resigns

DUBLIN Tue Nov 2, 2010 6:26am EDT

DUBLIN Nov 2 (Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen's majority in parliament shrank to three seats on Tuesday after a rebel MP from his Fianna Fail party resigned from his parliamentary seat, national broadcaster RTE reported.

Cowen's shaky coalition must push through the first of four rounds of fresh austerity cuts in December and needs support from six members of junior partners The Greens, three independents and three dissidents from his own party to do so.

Former dissident Jim McDaid, who was stripped of his Fianna Fail party privileges for voting against the government two years ago, could not have been fully counted on to support December's budget before his reported resignation.

McDaid's parliamentary office were unable to confirm that he had resigned when contacted by Reuters. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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