Saturday 20 October 2018

Martin writes to Taoiseach, wants agreement parties will not bring down Government until Brexit negotiations finalised

Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin
Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has written to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar asking him to agree to not bring down the Government while crucial Brexit negotiations are on going.

In the letter, which was released publicly this afternoon, Mr Martin said he believed both party leaders should “state upfront” a commitment not to collapse the Government until the new year.

He said the Taoiseach should agree to allow the Finance Bill and other important legislation pass through the Dáil up until a Brexit agreement is passed by the House of Common in Britain.

It is expected this will happen in late January or early February.

Mr Martin said the public would be “rightly concerned” over the risk a general election might have during this phase of Brexit negations.

“We should both agree to continue to pass the Finance Bill and other legislation at least up to the point where, whatever is agreed by the European Council on Brexit in the coming months, has cleared the critical hurdle of ratification by the House of Commons and European Parliament,” he said.

“An election during this critical time would create a dangerous instability during a period when the Brexit could be derailed by the constant changing situation in Westminster,” he added

Mr Martin’s proposal means a general election could not be called until the new year once a Brexit deal is agreed between the EU and Britain and then voted for in the House of Commons   The final deadline for the official end of Brexit talks is March 29.

The letter from the Fianna Fáil leader to the Taoiseach comes with Mr Varadkar’s Government in chaos after one minister resigned and another was left facing a fight for survival.

Communications minister Denis Naughten, an Independent TD, did not inform the Taoiseach of his decision to stand down before making the shock announcement in the Dáil yesterday.

His resignation heightens the likelihood of a general election before Christmas, although as early as yesterday Fianna Fáil sources were saying they would “not be jumping the gun”.

Mr Naughten held six meetings with the lead bidder for the National Broadband Plan.

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