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Dublin: 26°C Thursday 11 August 2022

'Enormous hostility' among some EU members towards any further Brexit extension, says Varadkar

Varadkar reiterated that the EU is not prepared to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement again.


TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR said there is “enormous hostility” towards the UK from EU members over the prospect of any future extensions to Brexit. 

The comments come following a meeting between Varadkar and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier  in Brussels today. 

The EU has repeatedly said the withdrawal agreement will not be reopened, and speaking to reporters this afternoon, Varadkar reiterated that message. 

“The withdrawal agreement is not going to be reopened but we are willing to consider amendments to the joint-political declaration, and if there is no agreement then there is no transition period for the United Kingdom,” he said. 

“There’s no withdrawal agreement without a backstop and there is no implementation period without a withdrawal agreement.

The UK has been granted an extension to get the withdrawal agreement passed through parliament before 31 October or face a no-deal Brexit. 

Theresa may tried and failed on three occasions to win enough votes in Westminister before announcing her resignation last month. 

Varadkar today said a further extension would not be granted to facilitate further negotiations and that it would take a general election or a second referendum for another extension to be considered. 

“While I have endless patience some of my colleagues have lost confidence quite frankly with the UK and there is enormous hostility to any further extension.

“So I think an extension could only really happen if it were to facilitate something like a general election in the UK or perhaps even like a second referendum if they decided to have one.

“What won’t be entertained is an extension for further negotiations or further indicative votes. The time for that has long since passed,” he added. 

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Conservative race

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove are battling it out to replace Theresa May at 10 Downing Street.

All three have said they would leave with a no deal if the Withdrawal Agreement is not reopened. 

Rory Stewart, who was eliminated yesterday, was the only candidate to insist he would not leave without a deal on 31 October. 

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