Varadkar and Johnson to hold phone call ahead of G7 summit

Varadkar and Johnson to hold phone call ahead of G7 summit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British prime minister Boris Johnson will hold a second one-to-one phone call next week amid growing fears over a no-deal Brexit.

Sources confirmed the phone call is likely to take place as part of a fresh round of appeals by Mr Johnson to EU leaders and before he travels to the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, next weekend.

Mr Varadkar and Mr Johnson have to date held one phone call a fortnight after the new British prime minister gained power, and are due to hold a face-to-face meeting in early September.

However, next week's phone call is likely to prove vital to setting the tone for future engagements in the lead up to the October 31 Brexit deadline, with it still being unclear if the two leaders will meet in September in Dublin or London.

The phone call is expected to see Mr Johnson again push for the backstop to be scrapped, and for Mr Varadkar to underline the importance of protecting the Good Friday agreement.

Downing Street has separately indicated Mr Johnson will use the coming days to speak with a number of other EU leaders, including key figures French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel in Biarritz next week.

The fresh diplomatic efforts come as opposition parties in Britain continue to push for an alternative government to block a no-deal Brexit, and as leaked German government papers stressed Berlin will oppose any backing down on the existing withdrawl agreement if it damages the Irish backstop.

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