Varadkar: Ireland have compromised on Withdrawal Agreement; UK must do the same

Varadkar: Ireland have compromised on Withdrawal Agreement; UK must do the same

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the British government has failed to get its deal approved on Brexit and it is up to London to now compromise.

Ireland and the EU had already agreed to several compromises on the Withdrawal Agreement but Britain had yet to offer a fresh solution, he said.

Government hopes of a Brexit deal are dwindling after tough talks between British and EU sides broke up ahead of key votes in Westminster next week.

And with just three weeks until the March 29 Brexit deadline, attention will now turn to Sunday and whether London will make a second attempt to wrestle some compromise out of the EU about the Irish backstop.

Despite the threat of a no-deal Brexit looming, Mr Varadkar insists it is up to British prime minister Theresa May and her government to come back with an alternative plan.

Speaking after a Cabinet meeting in Dublin city centre, he told reporters:

I would argue that the Withdrawal Agreement, including the protocol on Ireland, is already a compromise and it was a compromise that took a year and a half to negotiate, involving the EU institutions and 28 governments.

“Keep in mind elements of that compromise, like extending the backstop on a UK-wide basis, a single customs territory involving all the United Kingdom, these were compromises that the British government sought.

“We were and remain happy to apply the backstop only to Northern Ireland, if they want to go back to that. It doesn't have to trap or keep all of the Great Britain in the customs territory, at all, or for a long period.

"That is up to them. We have already agreed to the review clause and the good faith clause so I think we have made a lot of compromises already.

“What's not evident if what the UK government is offering the European and Ireland, should it wish to make any further compromises.

"We have received no offer from them as to what they would give us in return for any changes. So it requires a change of approach by the UK government.

“They have failed to achieve ratification of this, so it should be a question of what they are willing to offer us rather than the opposite.”

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