Cameron cancels Brexit campaign meeting with Kenny
Published 15/06/2016 | 02:30
The Taoiseach will not link up as planned with the British Prime Minister when Mr Kenny goes on the Brexit campaign trail in England this week.
Mr Kenny is to visit Liverpool tomorrow before going on to Manchester on Friday morning. It had been expected the Taoiseach would meet with David Cameron on Friday morning before moving on to Glasgow later that day.
No explanation has been given for the cancellation of the meeting with the British Prime Minister. Dublin officials merely said that "Mr Cameron's plans had changed."
But political sources said the tightness of the referendum on whether Britain should 'Remain' or 'Leave' the European Union had led to a profound change of strategy among those who, like the Prime Minister, are urging that British voters back the stay side on June 23.
Campaigners believe that the key battle is the English regions, notably the Midlands and North. These are traditional Labour strongholds and, while the Labour side is officially backing a 'Remain' vote, there is now deemed to be a need to strengthen the message.
"Labour needs to take centre stage in places like Manchester if the 'Remain' side is to prevail," one source said.
Mr Kenny's spokesman again defended his intervention in the British campaign as "measured and appropriate" and rejected arguments that it was either excessive or too weak and late.
"It is a message from a good friendly neighbour which stresses the mutual benefits of EU membership. It is mainly directed at Irish communities and business interests," the Taoiseach's spokesman said.