Brexit: Varadkar and Macron to meet on Brexit deadlock

Leo Varadkar Image copyright ARIS OIKONOMOU
Image caption Irish PM Leo Varadkar and French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss their no-deal plans

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will go to Paris later for discussions with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, about the Brexit deadlock.

On Monday, MPs again failed to find a majority on an alternative to the government’s plan.

Ahead of the visit Mr Varadkar said he was “keen to discuss the possible scenarios arising from this week”.

“It is now up to the UK to show how it plans to proceed and avoid a no-deal scenario,” he added.

“We are preparing for all outcomes, and have prepared intensively for a no-deal.

“But no-one should underestimate the difficulties that a no deal will present, for all of us.”

On Tuesday, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator said a no-deal Brexit is now more likely but can still be avoided.

The outcome of Monday’s votes in the House of Commons will be on the agenda for Mr Varadkar and Mr Macron in Paris.

They will also discuss their no-deal plans.

Image copyright MARK DUFFY/AFP/GETTY
Image caption The DUP still want changes made to the backstop

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) voted against all four options tabled on Monday.

The party’s deputy leader Nigel Dodds said if the Irish border backstop was addressed, the DUP could “do business” with the government.

Speaking after the indicative votes, Mr Dodds said the only proposition that MPs had ever supported was an amendment – known as the Brady amendment – calling on the government to negotiate changes to the backstop.

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Your guide to Brexit jargon

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The backstop is the insurance policy to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland, unless and until another solution is found.

The DUP and some Brexiteer MPs oppose it because if it took effect, it would keep Northern Ireland only tied to some EU regulatory rules, and would keep the whole of the UK in a customs union with the EU.

On Monday night, independent unionist MP for North Down, Lady Hermon, backed two of the options.

She voted for another referendum and to revoke article 50, but against a customs union or single market arrangement.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption German Chancellor Angel Merkel is due to visit Dublin on Thursday

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Dublin on Thursday, as pressure mounts over Parliament’s failure to ratify the withdrawal agreement.

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 12 April, if it cannot propose a way forward to the EU.

An extraordinary EU summit is due to take place on 10 April.

Mr Varadkar said he would discuss with his French and German counterparts how the European Council should respond to a request for another extension from the UK, to seek a delay to the Brexit process.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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