Monday 17 June 2019

Varadkar is set to meet Corbyn for Brexit talks

Government sources insists they are not trying to undermine beleaguered May

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is set to have his first official meeting with British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Sunday Independent has learnt.

The Taoiseach will meet Mr Corbyn, the main opposition leader in the House of Commons, in Dublin within the next fortnight.

The meeting comes against the backdrop of ongoing turmoil in British politics after crucial Brexit talks between prime minister Theresa May and Mr Corbyn broke down last week.

However, senior Government sources in Dublin yesterday played down any suggestion that the meeting between the Taoiseach and Mr Corbyn was arranged based on political developments in Westminster.

A Department of the Taoiseach source said it had been seeking a meeting between Mr Varadkar and Mr Corbyn for some time and was not trying to undermine Mrs May.

However, the meeting is sure to raise eyebrows in Britain where political tensions have again escalated after two months of relative calm.

Mr Varadkar will use the meeting to discuss Brexit, the Northern Ireland Assembly and other issues with the Labour Party leader.

It is understood that he will try to convince Mr Corbyn of the benefits of the Brexit withdrawal agreement which the EU agreed with Mrs May's negotiating team last year.

Mrs May has been unable to convince her parliament to support the exit deal and had been locked in talks with Corbyn for a number of weeks.

However, last week the Labour leader wrote to May, saying he did not believe that the negotiations could continue given the "weakness and instability" of her government.

The breakdown of the talks also sparked fresh speculation surrounding Mrs May's leadership of an increasingly divided Conservative Party.

The prime minister told party members she would set out a timetable for her departure after the next round of Westminster votes on the Brexit deal which is due to take place next month.

Sunday Independent

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