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'Enda Kenny is keen not to look like the junior partner' - Body language expert reveals what really happened at Brexit meeting

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Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD during their meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography/PA Wire

Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD during their meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography/PA Wire

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny greets Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May at Government Buildings in Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Taoiseach Enda Kenny greets Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May at Government Buildings in Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Under the watchful eye of Michael Collins’s portrait, Prime Minister Theresa May meets Enda Kenny in Government Buildings. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Under the watchful eye of Michael Collins’s portrait, Prime Minister Theresa May meets Enda Kenny in Government Buildings. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

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Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD during their meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography/PA Wire

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May was "all business" but he wanted to appear the dominant force between the two according to a body language expert.

Dr Peter Collett, a behavioural psychologist, observed the initial meeting of the two leaders in Dublin on Monday and said it was clear the brief summit was not about stroking egos.

"The impression I got is that seemed to be a very cordial meeting, quite businesslike.

"Enda is keen to welcome Theresa May because the moment she emerges from her limousine, he instinctively stretches out his arm to greet her and takes a step towards her," he told Independent.ie.

"They shake hands and he politely guides her up the steps so the press can take pictures.

"What's noticeable is that while they're standing there, Enda does most of the talking and gesticulating. In fact, several of his gestures seem dedicated to holding floor rather than illustrating his speech.

"Is it because Enda is naturally garrulous? Or because he knows that as the person who is speaking, rather than listening is likely to appear more dominant to those who are watching the scene?

"This is a trick a lot of politicians use," he added, noting that the Taoiseach's actions were likely instinctive rather than deliberate.

"Theresa May doesn't seem to be overly concerned about being cast in the listening role,” he continued.

“She spends a lot of time nodding her head and this inevitably only encourages Enda to keep talking more."

Dr Peter Collett noted how Theresa May attempted to say something at one point, before Taoiseach Enda Kenny made a move to speak again, ensuring he does not look like the junior partner at the meeting.

"At one point she does make a half hearted attempt to say something but Enda jumps in again and in this way Enda makes sure that he does not appear to be the junior partner in this relationship," he said.

Both leaders faced criticism last night when they emerged an address the public, without providing any concrete details about what the Brexit negotiations will include in respect of the common travel area and the border with Northern Ireland.

Online Editors