Michael Staines
Michael Staines

17.19 13 Aug 2019


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The Tánaiste has warned that a meeting between the Taoiseach and the UK Prime Minister is unlikely to solve the Brexit impasse.

Boris Johnson has accepted an invitation to meet with Leo Varadkar - but the meeting is now not expected to happen until September.

Speaking in Cork this afternoon, the Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the two leaders have a lot to discuss - including Northern Ireland, bilateral relations and the UKs exit from the EU.

Brexit

He warned that the British government must change its position on Brexit in order to avoid a no deal exit.

"I don't expect that a meeting between the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister will solve everything," he said.

"I think the Irish position is very clear and the British Government understands that.

"The EU position is also very clear it is the same as the Irish position. Unfortunately unless the British Government changes their approach on Brexit, we are facing managing a no deal Brexit - which is going to put huge pressure on everybody."

Bilateral meeting

He said there is no set date or location for the meeting.

"Both the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach have said that they want to meet and that meeting needs to be scheduled now," he said.

"A date hasn't been agreed yet but I suspect that will happen in the next number of weeks.

"But I don't want to speculate on a date at this stage."

Backstop

The Government has warned that Mr Johnson's insistence that the Irish border backstop must be 'abolished' in order for talks to move forward had placed the UK on a "collision course" with the EU.

Mr Johnson has told UK civil servants that "preparing urgently and rapidly for the possibility of an exit without a deal" will be his top priority - although he still insists that he would prefer to leave with a deal.

Speaking today he said he will hold talks with EU leaders in the coming days and said he remains determined to reach a deal.

He also expressed his confidence that UK can do a "great" trade deal with the US as soon as it leaves the bloc.

"The Americans are very tough negotiators indeed," he said.

"We will do a great deal with them and it will open up opportunities for British businesses in the US.

"It will be a tough old haggle but we will get there."

Legal challenge

This morning a judge in Scotland agreed to a hearing on whether Mr Johnson can legally suspend Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

More than 70 UK MPs and members of the House of Lords have petitioned the Edinburgh court to rule that the move would be "unlawful and unconstitutional."

The hearing has been set for Friday the 6th of September.


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Bilateral Bilateral Relationship Boris Johnson Brexit Leo Varadkar Northern Ireland Simon Coveney

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