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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 27 January, 2020

Varadkar hopes UK election produces 'decisive' outcome

The Taoiseach said he’d be staying up late to watch the results roll in.

Leo Varadkar speaks at the EU headquarters in Brussels today.
Leo Varadkar speaks at the EU headquarters in Brussels today.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that he hopes today’s election in the UK does not result in a hung parliament.

Speaking to reporters as he arrived at the European Council in Brussels today Varadkar was determined to steer his remarks towards climate change and the next EU budget, which are the focus of the summit.

However, he acknowledged that the election in the UK is looming large over proceedings and said that he imagines that most EU leaders will be staying up late tonight to watch the results unfold.

“Obviously it’s entirely a decision for the people in the United Kingdom to elect whichever government they want. I just that hope the result is decisive, so we know where we’re going over the next few months,” he said.

Hung parliament

The Taoiseach said that he does not believe that it is a choice between a hung parliament and a Boris Johnson led government.

“I think the best thing for Ireland, for the UK and for Europe would be to have an end to the uncertainty. So whether that’s prime minister Johnson winning with a large majority, or the remain parties together winning a majority, we’ll work with whatever the outcome is,” he said.

But what’s been very hard to work with is a parliament, that was a hung parliament, that wasn’t able to come a majority decision on anything, and I just hope we’re not in that position again tomorrow.

Varadkar also told reporters that the risks for Ireland in the next phase of the Brexit negotiations will hinge on the result of the vote.

He added that the withdrawal agreement protects against a hard Northern Ireland border, guarantees citizens rights and protects the common travel area “but it doesn’t solve the issue of trade”.

“The trading relationship between Britain and Ireland is essential for our agrifood sector, for our exporters and our small businesses.  So it’s going to be really crucial for Ireland that we get a good deal on trade with the UK,” he said.

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Ceimin Burke

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