Mon, 23 Sep 2019

British and Irish leaders try to thrash out Brexit issues

Conor Trindle
20 Aug 2019, 08:55 GMT+10

DUBLIN, Ireland - Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke for an hour by phone on Monday night trying to reach common ground on issues facing the two countries over Britain's plan to exit the European Union on 31 October.

Prime Minister Johnson stressed that the Withdrawal Agreement in its current form will not get through the House of Commons, that the backstop would need to be removed, and that an alternative solution is required.

The Taoiseach reiterated the EU27 position that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be re-opened, and emphasised the importance of the legally operable guarantee to ensure no hard border and continued free trade on the island of Ireland.

Varadkar, his office said in a statement, made clear that the Common Travel Area, which long pre-dates the UK and Ireland joining the EU, would not be affected by the ending of freedom of movement after Brexit.

The two leaders reiterated their desire to see the Northern Ireland political institutions reinstated urgently, and agreed to work closely to this end. They condemned Monday morning's bombing in Fermanagh and urged anyone with relevant information to contact the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland).

They agreed their teams would maintain close contact over the coming weeks, while recognising that negotiations take place between the UK and the EU27 Task Force.

The pair also agreed to meet in Dublin in early September.

(Photo credit: Getty Images).

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