Monday 19 August 2019

Irish Government advised to be 'impeccably polite, but totally uncompromising' with Boris Johnson to get through Brexit crisis

Boris Johnson. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Boris Johnson. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE Irish Government should be "totally uncompromising" with Boris Johnson to get through the Brexit crisis, a senior UK Labour politician has said.

Lord Andrew Adonis - an ardent opponent of the UK leaving the EU has - said that Ireland is the "Achilles' Heel" of Brexit and he believes it can still be stopped.

His remarks came as he delivered a speech to the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) in Dublin today and ahead of Mr Johnson's likely victory in the Conservative leadership race next week.

He said that a hard border would be deeply destructive to relations between Ireland and Britain and also between communities in the North.

He said "anything that tends to pull people apart is deeply dangerous".

Lord Adonis said that the reason he believes Ireland is the Achilles' Heel of Brexit is that when it "comes to the crunch", the overwhelming majority of parliamentarians in the UK, including Mr Johnson are not prepared to take responsibility for "turning the clock back" in Northern Ireland or in relations between the UK and Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pours a cup of tea for EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pours a cup of tea for EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier

He added: "Even if in their most irresponsible moods some of the extreme Brexiters like Boris say they are, I believe that when they are face-to-face with the security advice... and with having to take responsibility for what could be a serious deterioration in the situation in Ireland I don't believe that they will actually go there."

He said his "strong advice" to the Irish government and diplomats is that "the way to deal with Boris Johnson is as follows: to be impeccably polite to him but to be  totally uncompromising".

He added: "Then we'll get through this crisis together probably without Brexit. But even if some form of Brexit goes through it will be a soft Brexit".

Lord Adonis quoted fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in giving his assessment of how the Brexit debate will play out in the coming months relaying how he famously said: "Once you’ve eliminated the impossible you are just left with the improbable which must be the truth."

He argued that both the Withdrawal Agreement outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU and leaving with no-deal as Mr Johnson has been suggesting - both of which have ben rejected by MPS - are impossible.

He put renegotiating the Brexit deal with the EU in the impossible bracket as well as the EU has ruled this out.

Calm: Simon Coveney
Calm: Simon Coveney

Lord Adonis said the two improbable options are a second Brexit referendum or a general election.

"My view... is we’ll end up with a referendum because once you’ve eliminated the impossible you’re left with the improbable that would be a referendum and we’ll end up remaining."

During his speech Lord Adonis claimed Mr Johnson is a "chancer" who is "perfectly capable of eating his words at two minutes notice" as the Brexit deadline of October 31 approaches.

Online Editors

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