Sunday 20 October 2019

Tanaiste does not believe no-deal Brexit is edging closer

Tánaiste Simon Coveney at the British Irish Chamber of Commerce annual networking dinner
Tánaiste Simon Coveney at the British Irish Chamber of Commerce annual networking dinner
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

TANAISTE Simon Coveney said he does not think the EU and Britain are edging closer to a no-deal Brexit, despite all indicative votes failing to pass in the House of Commons.

The Tanaiste said he still believes a deal will be done and that this or applying for a long extension is a more likely course than the UK crashing out of the EU.

Speaking after a British Irish Chamber event on Brexit, Mr Coveney said that with the number of votes many had predicted it would be difficult to get a majority and said that he expects another round of indicative votes on Monday will narrow the options.

He said he is hopeful of more clarity by next week on what the British government and parliament is looking for.

“I suspect the choice will be much narrower, it’ll be two or three options, that’s a matter for the speaker and in the meantime the Prime Minister and government need to decide whether they put a meaningful vote back to parliament or not, whether they think they can get support for it,” Mr Coveney said.

Asked about the DUP saying it will not be backing the deal over the inclusion of a backstop, Mr Coveney said: “Our position is very clear on this.

“I don’t believe that the backstop threatens the constitutional integrity or the economic integrity of the United Kingdom,” he said, adding that the backstop was designed by the British Prime Minister and the EU around British red lines.

“It is really a matter now for the DUP to have those conversations with the British government.

“I think the EU has gone as far as it can in relation to providing reassurance and clarification. It seems to be enough for everybody else, but these are decisions the DUP have to make for themselves and I don’t think anything I say is going to make a huge difference to that.”

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