BORIS Johnson yesterday called on Ireland’s leader to compromise for a new Brexit deal as the PM appeared ready to soften his own demands.
Mr Johnson held his first face to face talks with the Taoiseach in Dublin yesterday in a bid to kick start stalled talks.
Leo Varadkar has been urged by the Prime Minister to compromise for a new Brexit deal[/caption]
Boris warned Leo Varadkar that both their premierships depended on striking an agreement by October 31.
Britain’s boss told the Irishman that the UK crashing out would be “a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible”.
But in a significant change of tone, the conciliatory PM dropped a hint that he may be prepared to keep the controversial Irish backstop as long as there is an escape route from it.
He told Mr Varadkar that his priority was to “find a way of ensuring that the UK is not kept locked in a backstop arrangement”.
Mr Johnson added: “I have one message that I want to land with you today Leo, I want to find a deal”.
Despite there being just five weeks to go to a crunch EU summit, he insisted that they have “the ideal amount of time to get this thing done”.
‘NO BACKSTOP IS NO DEAL’
During testy exchanges as the two leaders held a joint press conference, Mr Varadkar stuck to his hard line on the need for a workable backstop, telling Boris: “No backstop is no deal for us”.
He also lambasted Boris for failing to come up with a new plan to replace the current backstop, which he had promised German leader Angela Merkel three weeks ago.
Stirking new trade deals with both the US and EU would be “a Herculean task”, Mr Varadkar also warned.
But the Taoiseach also raised hopes by saying he thought a deal “was possible”.
The two leaders spoke over breakfast alone for more than half an hour, before talks continued with the two delegations.
A joint statement released by the two governments afterwards claimed small progress, saying: “Common ground was established in some areas although significant gaps remain”.
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In a warning to rebel MPs, Mr Varadkar revealed patience was running thin among Europe’s 27 leaders for yet another extension despite Parliament’s new law that demands one.
The Taoiseach said: “Brexit has dominated British politics and Irish politics for far too long now.
“The vast majority of countries would prefer there would not be an extension. If the UK is leaving, it should leave on October 31.”
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