Ireland's deputy PM says Withdrawal Agreement "not up for renegotiation"

Ireland’s deputy Prime Minister, Simon Coveney, has said the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU is “not up for renegotiation,” adding, “Even if there is a new British prime minister…the personality might change here, but the facts don’t.” 

Speaking this weekend, Coveney said, “There are many British politicians who don’t, quite frankly, understand the complexity of politics in Northern Ireland.” He confirmed that Ireland was continuing to prepare for a No Deal Brexit.

Elsehwere, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster said that the Government had “wasted time” in pursuing cross-party talks with Labour. She added, “The Government should reject the backstop and work for a sensible deal which unionists throughout the United Kingdom can support.”

A new poll from Gallup International suggests that 52% of people across EU27 think the European Commission should renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement if the UK Parliament refuses to back it, while 34% disagreed. The poll also suggests 43% of people in the UK believes Brexit is a “good thing,” for the country while 40% believe it is bad, while also suggesting that 58% of people across the EU think the UK’s departure is bad for the bloc.

Jeremy Corbyn,Leader of the Labour Party, has meantime written to the Prime Minister to inform her that talks on finding a compromise agreement for leaving the European Union have “gone as far as they can” due to “the increasing weakness and instability” of the government.

Corbyn writes that as the Conservative Party moves towards selecting a new leader, “the position of the government has become ever more unstable and its authority eroded” undermining “confidence” in the “government's ability to deliver any compromise agreement”. He notes that “not infrequently, proposals by your negotiating team have been publicly contradicted by statements from other members of the Cabinet.”

The Labour leader describes the talks as “detailed” and “constructive”, but expresses disappointment that “while there are some areas where compromise has been possible, we have been unable to bridge important policy gaps between us.”

Jeremy Corbyn ends the letter by stating that Labour will carefully consider any proposals the Government brings forward to break the Brexit deadlock, but reiterates that, without significant changes, the Party will continue to oppose the Government’s botched deal.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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