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US Republicans badly hit by Paul Ryan's departure

The announcement in Washington yesterday that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, will not run for re-election later this year is a major blow to the US Republican Party.

Mr Ryan, who is standing down at the age of 48, is a respected and capable figure with strong Irish roots who has been involved in a series of bitter clashes with President Donald Trump.

There have been strong suggestions that many of his senior Republican colleagues have also had enough of Mr Trump and are considering their own futures.

If Mr Ryan had made it to the White House instead of Mr Trump, the party and indeed the country would be in a much more positive position today.

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Leading article