Brexit On The Agenda For UK & Irish PMs

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has visited Ireland for his first meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar since he entered Downing Street.

The agenda for the day was dominated by Brexit with the October deadline, the possibility of no-deal and Northern Ireland's political stalemate amongst the issues discussed by the two premieres.

Mr Johnson promised the UK would not impose any checks on the border and urged the EU to make the same commitment, but said he did believe democracy would be damaged if the UK's withdrawal was delayed further than 31 October.

The Prime Minister also said he was aware of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit and "wanted to find a deal".

"We must restore Stormont and we must come out of the EU on 31 October, or else permanent damage will be done in the UK to trust in our democratic system," he added.
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Mr Varadkar and Mr Johnson spoke privately over breakfast before joining their delegations for another half-hour meeting.

"While they agreed that the discussions are at an early stage, common ground was established in some areas although significant gaps remain," a joint statement read.

"Ireland and the UK are committed to securing an agreement between the European Union and the UK and recognise that negotiations take place through the Brussels Task Force.

"They also shared their commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and the restoration of the power-sharing institutions of Northern Ireland."

During his statement outside Government buildings, Mr Varadkar insisted that "the backstop is critical" and added that no alternative has been put forward by the UK. The Irish PM said there is no such thing as a clean break if the UK leaves with or without a deal.


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