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Leo Varadkar warns Boris Johnson that his new Brexit plan falls short as leaders talk for 30 minutes on phone

  • Boris Johnson wins over DUP with latest Brexit plan - but Varadkar tells Boris Johnson 'do not fully meet the agreed objectives of the backstop'
  • During 30-minute phonecall, Varadkar promised to 'further study' the documents


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has told the British Prime Minister his new Brexit plan falls short of being a replacement for the backstop.

During a 30-minute phonecall, Mr Varadkar promised to "further study" the UK documents given to the EU today.

But there is a real sense that European leaders are only trying to be seen as reasonable rather than a Brexit breakthrough.

The Taoiseach told Boris Johnson tonight that the proposals "do not fully meet the agreed objectives of the backstop".

A key aim of the backstop is to prevent any form of border infrastructure on this island.


However, Mr Varadkar indicated that he would study the UK proposal in further detail, and would consult with the EU institutions, including Michel Barnier’s taskforce.

He expects to speak with European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and with other EU heads of Government over the coming days.

This will include the Swedish and Danish Prime Ministers, with whom the Taoiseach has bilateral meetings on Thursday and Friday in their capitals.

Mr Varadkar said he wants to see a deal agreed and ratified, and will continue to work in unity with our EU partners to this end.

Further conversations between the Taoiseach and Boris Johnson are planned for next week.


European Council president Donald Tusk (AP)

European Council president Donald Tusk (AP)

European Council president Donald Tusk (AP)

Mr Johnson’s finally tabled his alternative proposals to the backstop this evening, including a plan for checks both on the island of Ireland and in the Irish Sea.

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Ireland has always maintained that anything short of an invisible border would under the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and peace on this island.

A briefing note submitted by the UK today repeatedly mentions the importance of the GFA.

"Our proposal is centred on our commitment to find solutions which are compatible with the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. This framework is the fundamental basis for governance in Northern Ireland and protecting it is the highest priority for all," the UK submission says.

The plan includes an all-island regulatory zone which will cover all goods and agri-food.

"This zone would eliminate all regulatory checks for trade in goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland by ensuring that good regulations in Northern Ireland are the same as those in the rest of the EU," the UK says.

As a result goods and animals moving between Britain and Northern Ireland will have to be subjected to some checks.

The regulatory zones must be based "on the consent of those affected by it".

"This is essential to the acceptability of arrangements under which part of the UK accepts the rules of a different political entity," the document states.

The land border will come about as a result of the UK’s desire to take Northern Ireland out of the EU Customs Union after the Brexit transition period in 2021.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Danny Lawson/PA)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Danny Lawson/PA)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Danny Lawson/PA)

"We must do so whole and entire. Control of trade policy is fundamental to out future vision," the UK said.

Reacting to the submission, the DUP said it is important to secure "a balanced and sensible deal".

"Those who know anything about Northern Ireland will appreciate that these issues will only work with the support of the unionist as well as the nationalist community," the unionist party said.

"The DUP has always indicated that the United Kingdom must leave the EU as one nation and in so doing that no barriers to trade are erected within the UK.

"This offer provides a basis for the EU to continue in a serious and sustained engagement with the UK Government without risk to the internal market of the United Kingdom."

The statement added that the DUP “cannot and will not support arrangements where we are rule takers without requiring the consent of the elected representatives of the people of Northern Ireland”.

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