Published On: Mon, Sep 9th, 2019

Brexit news: Varadkar and Johnson clash in icy conference – ‘No backstop no deal’ | UK | News

In a tense joint press conference in Dublin with Prime Minister , the Irish leader was asked to recognise a no deal scenario would still be worse than getting rid of the controversial protocol agreed by Theresa May and the EU for the Irish border. But Mr Varadkar responded: “In the absence of agreed alternative arrangements, no backstop is no deal for us. All it does is kick the can down the road for another 14 months.

“Another 14 months of uncertainty for business, another 14 months of uncertainty for people north and south of the border.

“So that’s not what we find attractive at all.”

The warning comes as Boris Johnson prepares to face MPs in Parliament on his second attempt to call for a snap election to be held on October 15.

The Prime Minister will attend the next European Council Summit on October 17 at which he will have his last chance to agree to a Brexit deal with Brussels to allow for an exit on October 31. 

Speaking alongside the Irish leader, Boris Johnson said it should be possible to do so while preserving the unchecked movement of people and goods across the Irish border, maintaining the Good Friday agreement and protecting the economic unity of the island of Ireland.

“I think we can achieve these things while allowing the UK to withdraw whole and entire from the EU,” he said.

“Strip away the politics and at the core of each problem you find practical issues that can be resolved with sufficient energy and a spirit of compromise.”

“I have one message that I want to land with you today, Leo, that is I want to find a deal, I want to get a deal,” Mr Johnson added as he turned to the Irish leader.

“Like you, I’ve looked carefully at no-deal, I’ve assessed its consequences both for our country and yours. And yes, of course, we could do it, the UK could certainly get through it but be in no doubt that outcome would be a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible.

“So for the sake of business, for farmers, and millions of ordinary people who are counting on us to use our imagination and creativity to get this done. I want you to know I would overwhelmingly prefer to find an agreement.”

Asked about the situation in the Commons, the PM said: “We will come out on October 31, and I’m sure that parliamentarians will see the wisdom of doing that and respecting, honouring, the referendum result – the democratic referendum result.

“And, I’m absolutely undaunted by whatever may take place in Parliament.

“I think what the British people want us to do is to deliver a deal and to get on and take us out on October 31.”

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