BREXIT LIVE: 'Ireland has given you ENOUGH!' Varadkar BLAMES BRITAIN for backstop row

Posted on Mar 9 2019 - 8:47pm by admin

The Taoiseach said Ireland and the EU had already made concessions and it was now up to Westminster to propose a solution. Expressing surprise that the UK was now issuing further demands, he said: “I often wonder why people are asking us to make further concessions, we’ve made a lot of concessions already – accepting a UK-wide element to the backstop when we only ever wanted it to be Northern Ireland specific.” His remarks come after Attorney General Geoffrey Cox failed to reach a breakthrough on the Irish border backstop last night.

Mr Cox has said discussions with the EU will “almost certainly” continue through the weekend.

Theresa May’s deal will come before the House of Commons again next week where it is widely expected to suffer a second defeat.

But Mr Varadkar insisted blame for the problems over the controversial backstop agreement, the main sticking point for many Brexiteer MPs, lies squarely at Britain’s feet.

READ MORE: Brexit FURY: Spain ‘LAND GRAB’ Gibraltar as Madrid ‘BLOCKS’ backstop compromise AGAIN

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Brexit news: Leo Varadkar says the backstop impasse is the UK’s fault (Image: GETTY IMAGES)

He said Ireland and the EU had already agreed to a review clause and good faith clause on the backstop arrangement.

He said: “This problem of Brexit, a hard border on our island with disruption to trade and our economy, these are problems created in Britain.

“Surely they are the ones who should be coming forward with further concessions and further offers to us in terms of what more they can do to mitigate the damage they are creating.”


9.25pm: Brexit uncertainty DAMAGING business, CBI warns

Uncertainty over the outcome of the Brexit negotiations is damaging sales and holding back investment, the CBI has warned.

A survey by the business organisation found firms were reporting rising costs, while the stockpiling of goods was up as it remained unclear whether the UK will leave the EU on March 29 with a deal.

Of the 273 firms which responded, 61% said they were “extremely concerned” about the prospect of border delays in the event of no deal while another 28% said they were “moderately” or “slightly” concerned.

CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith urged MPs to provide certainty for businesses by either backing the Prime Minister’s deal or quickly devising an alternative deal.

9pm: No deal Brexit still ‘definite possibility’ 

Theresa May cannot delay her Brexit vote any longer and has no choice but to hold it on Monday, with the possibility of Britain crashing out of the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place a “definite possibility”, a political analyst has warned.

Professor Tony Travers made his remarks against a backdrop of desperate efforts by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox to wrangle concessions from Brussels, with little indication from either side of any compromises so far. 

He told “It’s likely that Geoffrey Cox has not got much. The thing it is not clear what the core via within the EU27 is – do they want a second referendum, do they want a delay, I just don’t know.

“There comes a point when Theresa May cannot delay this vote anymore.”

6.40pm: Brexiteers MOCKED in spoof ‘breaking point’ billboard

Leading Brexiteers have been mocked as a “tide of incompetents” in a billboard campaign imitating Nigel Farage’s infamous “breaking point” poster.

Campaigners Led By Donkeys and youth group For Future’s Sake inserted the faces of more than 70 “Brexit elite and political leaders” – including Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Aaron Banks, Rupert Murdoch and Jacob Rees-Mogg – to the image of a line of people Mr Farage used to campaign for Brexit.

Mr Farage’s billboard received criticism at the time for using a 2015 photo of migrants crossing the Croatia-Slovenia border to illustrate how he said the European Union had “failed” Britain.

He later defended the choice of image, saying “it’s a photograph that all newspapers carried. It’s an example, actually, of what is wrong inside the European Union”.

Organisers of the new campaign, which will roll out across the country next week, said redesigning the “foul” poster was an attempt “to go a little way towards cleansing our country of that noxious moment”.

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Anti-Brexit campaigners have mocked Brexiteers in a spoof of the ‘breaking point’ billboard (Image: PA)

6pm: 12 month Brexit delay ‘best thing’, Gordon Brown claims

Gordon Brown has urged the Government to seek a year-long delay to Brexit to allow time to “consult” the public on the UK’s exit from the EU.

Speaking to ITV News, the former Prime Minister said the “best thing to do” would be to extend the negotiations for a year.

He said “even Brexiteers know” that Theresa May’s deal is not a good outcome for the UK.

He denied he was trying to stop Brexit altogether through a second referendum.

4pm: EU should allow ‘short’ Brexit delay, Verhofstadt says

Guy Verhofstadt says a Brexit delay “shouldn’t be a problem” from the EU’s point of view as long as the reason for the extension is clear.

The European Parliament’s Brexit pointman said the bloc would consider a short extension of the Article 50 process to give MPs in the UK time to pass the necessary legislation.

But he warned Britain would not be allowed an extension to “simply kick the can”.

He added that the EU should not allow any delay which puts Brexit day beyond the European Parliament elections in late May.

Harvey Gavin taking over on live reporting.

2.50pm update: Andrea Leadsom accused of being in “open defiance” of Theresa May

Andrea Leadsom was accused of being in “open defiance” of Theresa May after failing to guarantee the exact times for votes on ruling out a no-deal Brexit and extending Article 50. 

The business for the House of Commons was leaked earlier this morning, and it showed the Government hasn’t allocated any time for the two votes. 

Ms Leadsom confirmed at Business Questions the next meaningful vote will take place on Tuesday March 12 and added changes will be made to the schedule to enable further Brexit votes to take place if MPs reject the deal next Tuesday. 

But shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz said she was “absolutely staggered” at her explanation, claiming: “The Leader of the House seems to be in open defiance of the Prime Minister.”

Ms Vaz said it would have been “more appropriate” to fulfil Mrs May’s statement, schedule all of the votes and then scrap the ones regarding no deal and an Article 50 extension if the Government wins the meaningful vote “rather then the other way around”.

Ms Leadsom hit back, saying: “The Prime Minister’s commitments mean I’ve had to announce the business as we know it today, because as she appreciates it is the Government’s intention to seek to win the meaningful vote on Tuesday.”

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The possible Brexit outcomes (Image: EXPRESS)

2.10pm update: Government has put in place ‘contingency plans’ to ensure cancer care is not affected by Brexit

The Government has put in place “robust contingency plans” to ensure continued access to medical radioisotopes whatever the Brexit outcome, peers have been told. 

Health minister Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford told the Lords the Government has been working closely with the Royal College and the pharmaceutical industry to ensure the NHS is ready to face even a no-deal scenario. 

She said: “It’s absolutely right for the Royal College of Radiologists to put in place some guidelines and we have been working closely with them to offer practical advice in allowing adjustment in clinical processes.

“We don’t expect any patient harm to arise from this and the changes in clinical pathways and practice are expected to be minor and short-lived.” 

Fears have arisen surrounding possible problems or rising costs of the import of radioisotopes, commonly used in the diagonisis and treatment of some cancers. 

1.55pm update: Government set for another defeat, Theresa Villiers said

Former Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers warned the Government is set for another sounding defeat next Tuesday. 

Speaking about the next meaningful vote, taking place on March 12, she said: 

“I suspect we will get the same result as last time in that MPs will vote down the agreement. 

“It really does depend on whether there is a last-minute breakthrough in the Geoffrey Cox work.”

1.40pm update: Jeremy Corbyn ‘more certain than ever’ MPs will back a soft Brexit plan

Jeremy Corbyn is “more certain than ever” MPs will back a deal able to keep the UK closely tied to the EU. 

The Labour leader met with Tory Brexiteers Sir Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles in a bid to find an alternative to Theresa May’s deal. 

The talks were described as “positive and detailed”, during which they examined “the similarities and differences” between them, according to Mr Corbyn’s office. 

And the opposition leader himself wrote in the Daily Mirror the encounter made clear the majority of the MPs are getting ready to back a “sensible” Brexit deal. 

He added Labour would support a second referendum to prevent a “damaging Tory Brexit or a no deal outcome”, but stressed his efforts to find a deal. 

He said: “I will continue to reach out to get a decent Brexit deal so our country can spend more time talking about our children’s future than a customs union.

“Labour respects the result of the referendum and a close economic relationship is the best Brexit compromise for both 17 million Leave voters and 16 million Remain voters.

“But we can’t accept a damaging Tory Brexit or a no deal outcome, so we also support preparing for a public vote in case Parliament is not able to achieve a sensible Brexit.

“We will do whatever we can to find a solution that can unite the country so, together, we can face down the real challenges and seize the opportunities in this moment of great change.”

Mr Corbyn’s plans for a so-called Customs Union 2.0 would see the UK remaining within the single market, an option Theresa May has already rejected multiple time. 

1.15pm update: House of Commons schedule over Brexit votes announced

Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom confirmed the meaningful vote will take place on Tuesday, March 12. 

She added that if the revamped Withdrawal Agreement is once again rejected, Theresa May will make a statement setting out the timetable for fulfilling May’s commitment to give parliament votes next week on whether to leave the EU without a deal on March 29 or delay Brexit.

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The Department for Transport announced flights to and from the EU will not be disrupted (Image: GETTY)

1.05pm update: Flights to be protected in a no-deal Brexit scenario, says the Department for Transport

The Department for Transport announced flights to and from the EU will be protected even in case of a no-deal Brexit after the Government has finalised its own plans to make sure aircrafts won’t be grounded. 

The UK’s regulations allow EU airlines to operate in Britain and UK airlines to operate in the EU even without a deal after March 2019. 

These regulations are to remain in place until March 2020. 

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said: “Measures put forward by the UK and the EU will ensure that flights can continue in any scenario; deal or no deal.

“This is good news, not only for the industry but most importantly it reaffirms the fact that passengers can book flights with confidence.

“We expect these contingency measures will never be needed and our efforts remain focused on securing a deal from the EU.”

12.35pm update: BoE could CUT interest rates in case of no-deal Brexit

The Bank Of England (BoE) is more likely to slash interest rates than raise them in the event of a no-deal Brexit, rate-setter Silvana Tenreyro said. 

Mrs Tenreyro said in a speech given in Glasgow: “In my judgement, a situation where the negative demand effects outweigh those other effects is more likely, which would necessitate a loosening in policy. 

“But it is easy to envisage other plausible scenarios requiring the opposite response.” 

The BoE had previously said its response to a no deal Brexit would not be automatic because a fall in the value of the pound and the imposition of tariffs on trade could push up inflation, making the case for a rate hike. 

But many economists and BoE officials have since spoken in favour of cutting interest rates. 

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The Bank of England is expected to cut interest rates in case of a no-deal, an expert said (Image: GETTY)

12.15pm update: EU is ‘simply not moving’ – British Government source

A British Government source revealed they have little hope something will change in the Brexit talks within the next 48 hours, because Brussels doesn’t want to make any concessions. 

They said: “They are simply not moving – they are not prepared to do what needs doing.

“It is always possible something might change in the next 48 hours but at the moment there is nothing to suggest that.”

12.05pm update: Geoffrey Cox proposed an arbitration panel to avoid backstop, EU diplomats say

EU diplomats revealed what Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was seeking to obtain during his meeting with Michel Barnier earlier this week. 

The sources said Cox, tasked by Theresa May with getting concessions from the EU on the Irish backstop, intended to ensure no hard border on the island of Ireland by creating an “arbitration panel” to resolve disputes.

The panel would not be obliged to refer cases to the EU’s top court, the ECJ, whose jurisdiction Britain wants to leave, something deemed unacceptable by the EU. 

After talks broke down, Mr Cox was told to rework the proposal and come back on Friday.

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Geoffrey Cox proposed an arbitration panel to avoid the backstop, EU sources said (Image: GETTY)

11.55am update: Theresa May urges EU and UK to keep working together to ensure an orderly Brexit

Britain and the European Union must keep working together to secure the orderly Brexit the bloc says it wants, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said.

The spokesman said that if Mrs May’s revamped Withdrawal Agreement was voted down, then the Government would bring votes on a no-deal Brexit and on a possible delay to the country’s departure as promised.

11.45am update: No time allocated next week for no deal and Article 50 votes

The business for the House of Commons for next week has been leaked. 

The document doesn’t show any allocated time on either Wednesday or Thursday for the expected votes on ruling out a no deal scenario and extending Article 50. 

This may signal the Government doesn’t want to confirm them until it is absolutely necessary – if and when Theresa May’s deal is voted down again on Tuesday. 

11.15am update: Mayors from the UK and France meeting to ‘deepen our bilateral relations’

Mayors and local government leaders from across France and the UK are meeting today in London to strengthen ties ahead of Brexit. 

During the meeting, they will set out how they intend to step up cooperation. 

French Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau said: “We are determined to maintain and deepen our bilateral relations.” 

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “The UK’s relationship with France is essential to both our countries, and has always been about more than the links between our governments.

“So I’m delighted that we’re reaffirming our commitment to refresh and renew existing partnerships and to establishing new ones between our villages, towns and cities.

“These partnerships are forged and developed at a local level and this summit is about supporting our mayors and regional leaders to pave the way for a brighter future, both economically and socially, for all the people they represent.”

Nathalie Loiseau

French Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau (Image: GETTY)

10.45am update: Hunt warns MPs against voting down the Withdrawal Agreement

Jeremy Hunt, the UK Foreign Secretary, said the MPs risk to plunge the country into a Brexit paralysis if they vote down the revamped Brexit deal on Tuesday. 

But he adds he is keeping his hopes high UK negotiators will be able to achieve concessions by the end of the weekend, saying there are very exhaustive discussions ongoing. 

He told reporters after a giving a speech in Glasgow: “I wouldn’t have expected a breakthrough to have happened by now.

“What I would say is that compared to a month ago there is complete clarity on both sides as to what it will take to get an agreement through parliament.

“Now there are very exhaustive discussions on both sides to try and find a way to achieve a solution.

“Both sides want to find a way through this and we’re hoping for that success to happen this weekend in time for the vote.” 

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Geoffrey Cox spoke to the Commons this morning (Image: SKY NEWS)

10.30am update: Geoffrey Cox’s speech to the Commons

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox spoke to the Commons today, pledging to give MPs as much notice as the Government can before the meaningful vote on Tuesday. 

Mr Cox also said UK officials are discussing detailed, coherent, careful proposals and texts with the EU on the backstop. 

The Attorney General added the Government is committed to obtain from Brussels all the assurances sought by MPs following the last meaningful vote. 

Mr Cox also said he will publish his updated Brexit legal advice. 

He said: “I shall publish my legal opinion on any document that is produced and negotiated with the union.” 

10.20am update: Britain to prospoer with a ‘hard but smart’ Brexit, German economists say 

The Ifo Institute has created a new Brexit model, called “hard but smart” Brexit, in its latest report.

The German economists explained this model would limit the damage caused by a no-deal Brexit by leaving the EU without a deal and embracing free trade. 

This would see Britain slashing all import tariffs after Brexit, which would cut costs for households and businesses, giving the economy a boost. 

9.58am update: Tory fears party may ‘split in two’ over Brexit

A Tory minister revealed his worries for the Conservative Party as talks between the EU and the UK fail to produce significant progress and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn meets with two senior Tory Remainers to discuss a Customs Union 2.0 plan. 

The Brexiteer minister told The Sun: “If we lose on Tuesday, absolutely everything is going to be s***.

“I cannot see how we go forward with whatever softer Brexit that gets imposed on us without the party splitting in two. It will be a complete disaster.”

9.45am update: European Central Bank to SLASH growth forecast

The European Central Bank (ECB) will slash growth forecast on Thursday. 

Business confidence in the eurozone turned negative as Brexit uncertainty and a global trade war rage on. 

The ECB is expected to give its strongest signal yet that fresh stimulus is coming in the form of more cheap loans, hoping to stop an unexpected slowdown from becoming a downturn. 

9.25am update: EU issues a 48-hour DEADLINE to the UK

The EU told London it has less than 48 hours to work on fresh “acceptable” ideas to break the deadlock over the Irish backstop. 

If the UK will bring forward new ideas by the end of the week, Brussels’ officials said they will work relentlessly over the weekend to take them into consideration. 

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Theresa May could head to Brussels on Monday to meet Jean-Claude Juncker (Image: GETTY)

8.50am update: France says Withdrawal Agreement CAN’T be reopened

French Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau said the Brexit deal struck by Theresa May and Brussels in November can’t be reopened. 

She also said the EU believes the backstop is a “last resort solution” to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

She told BBC Radio 4: “We cannot reopen this negotiation on the Withdrawal Agreement because it is balanced. 

“We don’t like the backstop, we don’t want to have to implement it, and if we have to, we don’t want to stay in the backstop.

“We all agree that it should be temporary, and that it’s a last resort solution.”  

She added the Withdrawal Agreement was the “best possible” outcome to Brexit. 

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Philip Hammond believes MPs will vote in favour of an extension of Article 50 (Image: GETTY)

8.35am update: Philip Hammond REFUSES to say whether he would quit over a no-deal Brexit 

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond was asked if he would resign if the Government pursued a no-deal Brexit. 

Mr Hammond, a Remainer, didn’t answer the question, but said he believes it would be a bad outcome to leave Europe without a deal. 

He added that, if Theresa May’s deal is once again voted down in Parliament on Tuesday, MPs will likely vote in favour of an extension to Article 50.  

But he didn’t say how he would vote, saying: “I’m not going to speculate about something that hasn’t happened and I don’t think will happen because I think the Government is very clear where the will of Parliament is on this.

“Parliament will vote not to leave the European Union without a deal next Wednesday, I have a high degree of confidence about that.

“But we do need to have clear confirmation. It’s right that Parliament should make that decision and then we’ll put the question about extending Article 50 and how we try to break this impasse by finding a consensus.”

He then continued praising the perks of leaving with a deal, saying: “If we get the right  deal done, and a smooth exit from the European Union so that we can release the money that we’ve set aside to deal with the possible disruption of a no-deal exit, then that will give us more money still that we can put into public services over the next three years.”

8.20am update: DUP deputy ‘DEFINITELY’ sees ‘way through’ Brexit talks

Nigel Dodds, the DUP deputy leader, said he “definitely sees a way through” Brexit talks if Brussels and Dublin allow changes to be made, the Irish Times wrote. 

He said: “There is definitely a way through this. Whether there are people in Brussels and Dublin who are prepared to make changes remains to be seen.” 

Additional reporting by Alice Scarsi.

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