Colm Keaveney has reiterated that his intention to remain as Labour's chairman, despite being expelled from the parliamentary party for voting against the Social Welfare Bill.

Speaking on the Late Late Show tonight, the Galway East TD said he had "fought tooth and nail many a dark day to secure the chairmanship of the Labour Party" and would protect it like a "lioness would protect her cubs".

Mr Keaveney said his decision to vote against the Social Welfare Bill was the hardest he had ever had to make in his life. He said he loves the Labour Party and was committed to its values.

He said he had worked particularly hard with colleagues on the Budget, but had failed.

He added that he had received a warm reaction from the public and grass roots Labour members since he made his decision.

He disputed claims that what he had done had been opportunistic and said he did not regret it.

He said it is up to the chairman of the Labour Party to uphold the values of the party and the chairmanship is the gift of the party membership.

Asked if he admired the Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, Mr Keaveney said he found it difficult to admire someone who had publicly criticised him over the last few days for upholding Labour values.