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Tick tock

Varadkar to brief party leaders on possibility of a no-deal Brexit scenario

Leo Varadkar will meet with opposition leaders next Tuesday.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR is to meet opposition party leaders next week to brief them on contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit. 

It is understood the meeting is taking place due the scenario of a no-deal Brexit becoming more of a possibility in recent days. 

The meeting will take place on Tuesday – a day after UK Prime Minister Theresa May is due to present her plans to the House of Commons on what is next for Brexit. 

The Taoiseach is also due to brief party leaders on the omnibus “mega” Brexit Bill. 

There are 17 areas where legislation change will be needed across multiple government departments in a no-deal scenario. 

The heads of the Brexit Bill will be finalised and published next week. 

This week, Varadkar said a disorderly Brexit at the end of March can be avoided, with the extension of Article 50 – but that can only be done when a request is made by the UK government.

He added that work on Ireland’ contingency plans will continue, adding “these are no longer contingency plans, they are being implemented by government”. 

Fianna Fail’s Micheál Martin criticised the Taoiseach and government for their lack of preparedness for Brexit as the end date of 29 March approaches. 

A government source said it is not unprecedented for the Taoiseach to invite party leaders to a briefing about such important matters stating that similar meetings were held in relation to the IBRC.

The meeting will take place after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. 

The British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to EU leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk by telephone yesterday to discuss where to go next on Brexit.

May also spoke separately with the head of the EU executive, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, at her request.

May had previously been in touch with Brussels only by text message since Tuesday, the day that the British parliament rejected the Brexit deal she signed in November, that lays out the conditions for leaving the European Union.

The deal was defeated by a historic 432 votes to 202: in the last record for a UK government defeat was in 1924, when the Labour government lost by 166 votes.

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