Thursday 19 September 2019

Leo Varadkar on Brexit chaos: 'If the House of Commons went pay-per view, they would make a lot of money'

  • Taoiseach also takes pot-shot at Johnson's 'big girl's blouse' remarks about Corbyn
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has responded to the Brexit chaos in Westminster saying "if the House of Commons went pay per view, they'd make a lot of money".

He also took an extraordinary pot-shot British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says before they meet in Dublin.

He expressed surprise at Mr Johnson's taunts of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during heated exchanges on Brexit and the prospect of an election in the UK.

Mr Varadkar said: "The Dáil is not always an example of virtue an there are plenty of non-sensical displays of behaviour... I don’t really think a Taoiseach would ever call somebody a big girls blouse.

"It’s just not what you would expect from the mother of all parliaments so I hope things improve," he added.

Mr Varadkar's remarks came at the Kennedy Summer School in New Ross, Co Wexford where he said UK politics has been "very volatile".

He is to meet Mr Johnson for the first time since he became prime minister in Dublin on Monday.

Mr Varadkar said he does not expect there to be a breakthrough on Brexit at their meeting.

Mr Varadkar also said: "No matter what happens we always have to monitor what happens in the UK which is our nearest neighbour... we’re going to need to have a good relationship with them political and economic.

"It has been very volatile over the last number of years."

Mr Varadkar said the Fine Gael-led minority government is dealing with its third UK prime minister since 2016.

"It's an extraordinary situation to be in and the fact that the people and policies change so quickly makes it very hard to come to an agreement.

"We put a lot of work, in good faith in Prime Minister [Theresa] May and her people over two years coming to an agreement [on Brexit].

"But now we have prime minister Johnson and his government resiling from commitments that were made back in December 2017 so it's very fluid situation to operate in but that's just the way it is and we have to do our best around that."

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar also said US Vice-President could have been "more balanced" in his comments about Brexit during his visit to Dublin earlier this week.

Mr Pence raised eyebrows during the visit when he reiterated the US administration's support for Brexit and urged Ireland to negotiate "in good faith" with Mr Johnson.

Mr Varadkar said he views Mr Pence as "a gentleman" and a "decent man".

He also said: "He is a politician as well in the way that President [Donald] Trump is not.

"He’s, you know, a normal politician if you like, for want of a better term," Mr Varadkar said to laughter from the audience.

He added: "You know what I mean".

Returning to his meeting with Mr Pence he said: "I do think his comments that were made in relation to Brexit could have been more balanced."

He said it's not a secret that the Trump administration is supportive of Brexit.

He also warned it will take many years for Britain to negotiate post-Brexit free trade deals with either the US or EU.

Mr Varadkar said if the UK can negotiate them in three or four years "they'll be breaking records".

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