Simon Coveney to brief Cabinet amid Brexit chaos in the UK

Tánaiste Simon Coveney is due to brief the Cabinet today on the state of the Brexit negotiations.

The meeting with ministers comes amid chaos in the UK as Prime Minister Theresa May dealt with the resignation of David Davis and Boris Johnson yesterday.

Former Foreign Secretary, who was replaced by Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson was the figurehead of the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum, but dramatically pulled away from an expected leadership bid.

His resignation letter released later said the Brexit “dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt”.

He also suggested under EU rules Britain was “headed for the status of colony”. The Tory MP said Britain was “heading for a semi-Brexit”.

Facing rowdy scenes in the House of Commons yesterday, Ms May noted the disagreements with her strategy, but defended it and committed to still publishing a paper this Thursday.

This was welcomed by Simon Coveney. His spokesman added: “The Irish Government remains consistent that what is needed now is fulsome negotiations between the EU and the UK to achieve the best possible deal by October.”

Both Mr Coveney and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar refused to discuss the Tory resignations, saying this was a matter for Theresa May.

Speaking in Cork, Mr Coveney warned time was running out.

“There really is only about eight weeks of negotiations left and so from what I’ve said and from what the Taoiseach said, the repositioning of the United Kingdom from the Chequers meeting on Friday is welcome and I don’t think we should be distracted now by some of the political challenges that are going on at Westminister.”

The “kick back”, as he called it, from Ms May’s revised position on exiting the EU was also not surprising.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the EU should cut Ms May some slack after her softening stance on Brexit.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said Ireland must not become collateral damage amid a Tory civil war.

This story originally appeared in the Irish Examiner

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