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Leo Varadkar at the launch of a national conversation on the Future of Europe at the Science Gallery in Dublin earlier this week.

The UK Sun lashes out at Leo Varadkar, says he should 'shut his gob on Brexit and grow up'

The Sun’s editorial comment came following strong words from Varadkar at a European Union summit in Sweden yesterday.

THE UK SUN newspaper launched a strong attack against Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, writing that he should “grow up” and help “make Brexit work for millions of his citizens and ours”.

The Sun’s editorial comment came following strong words from Varadkar at a European Union summit in Sweden yesterday.

The Irish leader raised the issue of the border between the UK and Ireland, saying more progress needed to be made before the Brexit negotiations could move on to the next phase.

Doubling-down on Ireland’s position that more work needs to be done before phase two of the Brexit talks, Varadkar said Ireland wants any kind of physical border “off the table” before that.

“Needless to say my main concern as Taoiseach, as Prime Minister of Ireland, and we’ve been talking for 18 months and we’ve been given assurances now for 18 months since the referendum, is that there’ll be no hard border,” he said.

“That there’ll be no physical infrastructure, that we won’t go back to the borders of the past. And we want that written down in practical terms at the conclusion of phase one.

Obviously we’re open to alternative proposals but we need that in the conclusions.

Sun response 

Varadkar’s position won him praise from many quarters, with commentators praising the tough stance.

However, his words also raised the ire of some pro-Brexit politicians and commentators.

The fiercest of criticism has come from editorial comment in the Sun.

sun The Sun The Sun

The paper said that Varadkar needs to “accept what’s happening”.

“His priority should not be picking holes in our position,” the comment states.

“It should be helping make Brexit work for millions of his citizens and ours, including by engaging constructively on a border solution.

He is too busy disrespecting 17.4 million voters of a country whose billions stopped Ireland going bust as recently as 2010.

The editorial states Ireland’s economy depends hugely on the UK’s.

It states that the UK is “Ireland’s biggest trading partner” and that effects of a hard Brexit “could be catastrophic”.

“Yet Varadkar’s rookie diplomacy, puerile insults and threats to veto trade negotiations are bringing it ever closer,” the Sun states.

Varadkar also drew criticism from Labour Party MP Kate Hoey.

Hoey said on Twitter that “no one wants a hard border so why does [Varadkar] imply it is british government’s responsibility?”


Despite the harsh criticism, Varadkar also won a lot of praise for his tough stance among domestic and international commentators.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin condemned the Sun editorial, calling it “ignorant, bullying and ageist”.

“The UK Sun is entitled to put its point of view.  But the tone of this editorial is deliberately offensive and will contribute nothing to resolving the issues our countries face,” he said.

“It reverts to the bad old days when the UK thought it could tell Ireland what to do, a view no longer held by the vast majority of the British people.

“The Taoiseach is representing the interests of Irish citizens and indeed many UK citizens living in Northern Ireland. He is not just entitled to do so, he is obliged to do so.

And while he continues to do so he will have the support of all the Irish people.

Former UK Labour Party Government Press Secretary Alastair Campbell said Varadkar should “play hardball”.

Sky News political correspondent Lewis Goodall wrote in an analysis piece that Ireland had a strong power hold over the UK in relation to Brexit and the border.

“And so it comes to pass that Brexit, where we were meant to take back control, has thrown up a unique historical conundrum,” he wrote.

For the first time in the seven or eight century relationship between Britain and Ireland, the Irish exercise power over its larger neighbour.

As well as the meeting of the EU leaders, Varadkar met bilaterally with UK Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday morning.

Following their meeting, a Downing Street spokesperson said:

The two leaders held constructive discussions on Brexit and looked forward to making further progress in the run-up to the December European Council.

With reporting from Ronan Duffy 

Read: Boris Johnson and Simon Coveney weren’t singing from the same hymn sheet in Dublin this morning >

Read: Britain’s government has survived the first parliamentary challenges to its Brexit bill >

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