The Irish Prime Minister had previously said the Brexit deadline could only be extended only if the UK first holds a general election. But in a revealing interview with the i newspaper in Belfast, the Taoiseach set out three ways a no deal Brexit could be avoided: a Brexit deal being ratified by the House of Commons; revoking Article 50, or a Brexit extension.
We ended up with the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop because of all the red lines that were drawn up by the British Government. Now if we’re going back to square one and those red lines are being changed, then we’ve something to talk about
Mr Varadkar also said a new Brexit deal could be struck if Boris Johnson drops Theresa May’s Brexit red lines – the UK leaving the single market, leaving the customs union, end free movement and bring to an end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.
In an interview with the i newspaper in Belfast, Mr Varadkar said: “We ended up with the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop because of all the red lines that were drawn up by the British Government.
“Now if we’re going back to square one and those red lines are being changed, then we’ve something to talk about.”
Mr Varadkar said if no deal happens “it will be as a consequence of decisions made in London”.
Brexit latest: Leo Varadkar has offered hope to Boris Johnson over the UK’s departure from the EU
Brexit latest: The EU has continued to insist the withdrawal agreement will not be renegotiated
The European Commission yesterday said it is ready to meet with Mr Johnson to discuss Britain’s departure from the bloc.
The Prime Minister has continued to insist the UK will leave the EU on October 31 – with or without a deal, “do or die”.
But while the European Union is prepared to discuss Britain’s departure with Mr Johnson over the coming weeks, they have insisted the withdrawal agreement will not be renegotiated.
The Irish backstop has been central to Theresa May’s Brexit deal not being ratified by Parliament, which is now being described in the UK as “undemocratic”.
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Brexit latest: Leo Varadkar suggested the Brexit deadline could be extended again
11.10am update: Tories also condemn Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s second Scottish independence comments
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “John McDonnell’s comments yesterday were met with complete dismay by Labour voters in Scotland.
“Today it’s becoming clear why he said it. Labour is proposing a pact with the SNP in order to parachute Jeremy Corbyn into number 10.
“The fact is this – Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell would happily sell Scotland down the river if they thought it could give them a sniff of power.
“That is a rank betrayal of the two million Scots – including thousands of Labour voters – who voted to stay part of the UK.
“I can’t imagine Scotland’s Labour MP’s were chuffed to hear Mr McDonnell describe Westminster as an ‘English parliament’. It’s not. It’s a parliament for the whole UK with representatives from every corner of the country.
She added: ”With Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell doing Nicola Sturgeon’s work for her, the First Minister must think Christmas has come early this year.
“Scottish voters can rest assured that the Scottish Conservatives will always stand up for our place in the United Kingdom and no Conservative prime minister would entertain doing a dodgy deal with the nationalists.”
11.06am update: McDonnell’s second Scottish independence comments attacked by Labour MP
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell had said Labour would not block a second Scottish independence referendum.
But Labour MP for Edinburgh South Ian Murray said: “These are utterly irresponsible comments from John McDonnell that betray our party’s values.
“The Labour Party is an internationalist party founded on a vision of solidarity and we should never seek to appease nationalists, whether they be for Brexit or Scottish independence, who want to divide communities and people.”
Mr Murray also tweeted: “Scottish Labour opposes a damaging and divisive Scottish independence referendum. The policy is set by the Scottish Labour Party and outlined in our last manifesto.
“John McDonnell must clarify his unhelpful freelancing immediately.”
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Brexit Party MEP issues warning to Boris – ‘Betrayal of vote!’ [LATEST]
Brexit latest: Leo Varadkar is ‘very keen’ to meet with Boris Johnson
10.25am update: Raab praises Trump’s warmth and enthusiasm’ for UK-US relationship following Washington meeting
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has held talks with Donald Trump in Washington, the Foreign Office has confirmed.
Mr Raab on his first visit to the country since taking office last month, met with the President and his deputy Mike Pence on Tuesday evening.
In a brief statement, he said: “We appreciate the president’s warmth and enthusiasm for the UK-US relationship.
“The UK looks forward to working with our American friends to reach a free trade deal that is good for both countries, and co-operating on the common security challenges we face.”
The Foreign Secretary is set for further talks today with other senior administration figures, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.
9.40am update: Dominic Cummings breaks silence on no deal Brexit preparations – explains ‘critical issue’
Dominic Cummings has broken the silence in a stern warning to rebel MPs attempting to thwart Boris Johnson’s no deal plans as he revealed a “critical issues” in the Government’s preparations.
Speaking to Sky News, the special adviser to Boris Johnson opened up on the Government’s no deal Brexit preparations with a positive update.
Asked how the Prime Minister’s cabinet’s planning was going, he replied: “Great.”
He added: “The most simple thing is the Prime Minister believes the politicians don’t get to choose which vote they respect. That’s the critical issue.”
Asked what he made of Dominic Grieve’s accusation he is “arrogant” and “ignorant”, he replied: “I don’t think I am arrogant.
“I don’t know very much about very much.
“Mr Grieve, we’ll see what he is right about.”
Brexit latest: Dominic Raab was in buoyant mood following a meeting with Donald Trump
9.35am update: No deal Brexit will mean some food shortages, trade body warns
A no deal Brexit would impact some food supplies for months if delays at ports leave fresh produce rotting in lorries, the industry’s trade body has warned.
Supermarkets such as Tesco have warned ;having the EU on October 31 without a trade deal will cause huge problems as much of the fresh produce is imported and warehouses are fully stocked ahead of Christmas.
Retailers have warned fresh fruit and vegetables, which have a shelf-life of only a few days, cannot be stored and the customs checks at Dover could lead to delays for arrivals.
Good and Drink Federation chief operating officer Tim Mycroft told BBC Radio: “The food sector is absolutely clear that a no-deal exit is a disastrous outcome for us.
“There will be selective shortages and they will to some extent be random because it depends on which trucks get through and which don’t.
“We think there will be some serious disruption and it will go on for weeks or months after our exit.”
9.27am update: Labour would ‘not block’ second Scottish independence referendum as SNP hints at pact to fight Tories
John McDonnell has said Labour would not block a second Scottish independence referendum after the country’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hinted at forming a pact to keep the Conservatives out of government.
The Shadow Chancellor told radio host Iain Dale at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival any decision about holding a vote would be up to the Scottish Parliament.
“It will be for the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people to decide that.
“They will take a view about whether they want another referendum. Nicola Sturgeon said by late next year or the beginning of 2021.”
He added: “We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That’s democracy.
“There are other views within the party but that’s our view.”
This comes following comments by Ms Sturgeon that the SNP would “always want to be part of a progressive alternative to a Tory Government”.
Brexit latest: The coutnries that would be hit hardest from a no deal Brexit
9.14am update: PM could trigger ‘gravest constitutional crisis’ since Civil War by refusing to quit
Boris Johnson would risk the “gravest” constitutional crisis since the Civil War if he refuses to resign as Prime Minister should he lose any no confidence vote.
The warning has come from former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who served under John Major from 1995-1997.
The Times has reported Mr Johnin’s most senior aide, Dominic Cummings, has told colleague the Prime Minister will defy convention and refuse to quit if Tory Remainers side with Labour ands other opposition MPs.
In a letter to the The Tomes, Sir Malcolm wrote; “If the prime minister refused to respect the normal consequence of losing a confidence vote and if he sought to prevent both parliament and the electorate having a final say on no-deal, he would create the gravest constitutional crisis since the actions of Charles I led to the Civil War.”
Sir Malcolm, 73, added: “I have great confidence that the prime minister will ignore the advice of Dominic Cummings.
“King Charles lost his head by flouting the constitution. Mr Johnson will wish to keep his, while some around him are, clearly, losing theirs.”
Brexit latest: Neil Basu warned a no deal could put UK security at risk
9.03am update: Tory Remainers can still block no deal Brexit – former Supreme Court judge
Lord Sumption said said retainers would have to choose between the “long shots” of rushing through a law against it or toppling Boris Johnson and forming a temporary Government.
He told the BBC one option would be for MPs to pass an emergency law demanding the Government revoke Article 50.
The other would be that following any successful npc confidence vote, a temporary Government is formed that would either ask the European Union for another Brexit delay or hold a second referendum.
Lord Sumption added: “Both of those look like very long shots to me in Parliamentary terms – but the Prime Minister has been so vigorous in offending anybody who thinks that a no deal Brexit might or should be avoided that the Parliamentary arithmetic might look very different when the Commons returns on September 3.
“The Prime Minister has been very much ‘in your face’ in saying that he is heading for no deal.”
8.45am update: No deal Brexit would put UK security at risk, warns country’s counter-terrorism boss
A no deal Brexit would stop British police from accessing European data on serious criminals, damaging safety and security, the country’s head of counter-terrorism has warned.
Neil Basu warned a no deal departure could see police lose access to data through the Schengen Information System, passenger name records and the ability to use European arrest warrants.
He told The Guardian: “It would create an immediate risk that people could come to this country who were serious offenders, either wanted or still serial and serious offenders committing crimes in this country, and we would not know about it.
“It creates that risk.
“There would still be deep concern. There would be some damage to our safety. I can’t put a scale on that.
“We can make them (the damaging effects) less, but they would be slower systems.
“Those systems and tools were developed in the EU for very good reason. They were very good. In a no deal we’d lose all that. We’d have to renegotiate it.”
8.30am update: ‘Unlawful’ if Boris refused to step down in confidence vote defeat – Gina Miller
The Remainer activist told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is a solid convention that a prime minister losing a vote of no confidence must step down.”
Ms Miller had gone to court and won the right for Parliament to give its consent ahead of the Government triggering Article 50 to begin the Brexit process.
She added: “While the Fixed-term Parliaments Act does not replace convention, it can be said the frustration of the principle – which is actually what we invoked in my first case and we won – would be in play because Prime Minister Johnson’s refusal to go would frustrate the operation and the purpose of the Act, and therefore be unlawful.”
Asked if she could be granted a judicial review in time, Ms Miller replied: “I have already instructed my legal team to take whatever steps necessary to ensure that a Prime Minister doesn’t attempt to put themselves above the law, and that we would seek some judicial review and clarity.
“That is already in motion and we would be ready.”
8.15am update: Food industry urges no deal Brexit competition waiver
The UK food industry wants parts of competition law to be set aside to allow firms to coordinate and direct supplies with each other in the event of a no deal Brexit.
As the law stands, doing so is illegal, and companies engaging in such practices can be fined by the Competition and Markets Authority.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said: “We asked for these reassurances at the end of last year. But we’re still waiting.”
The industry warned leaving the EU on October 31 could pose more difficulties than the original Brexit date on March 29 because of stockpiling for Christmas.
One retailer told the BBC that October 31 “is about the worst day you can pick”, as warehouse capacity is at 105% in November, versus 75-80% in March.
FDF chief operating officer Tim Mycroft told the broadcaster: “In the event of no-deal disruption, if the government wants the food supply chain to work together to tackle likely shortages – to decide where to prioritise shipments – they will have to provide cast-iron written reassurances that competition law will not be strictly applied to those discussions.”
8am update: Varadkar says new Brexit deal can be struck – but only if Johnson drops red lines
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has suggested a news Brexit deal could be struck, but only if Boris Johnson changes Theresa May’s red lines on Brexit.
The former Prime Minister’s red lines were the UK would leave the single market, would leave the customs union, would end free movement and would bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.
In an interview with the i newspaper in Belfast, Mr Varadkar said: “We ended up with the withdrawal agreement and the backstop because if all the red lines that were drawn up by the British Government.
“Now if we’re going back to square one and those red lines are being changed, then we’ve got something to talk about.”
The Taoiseach also set out the three means by which the UK leaving the EU without a deal could be avoided: an agreement with the EU being ratified by the House of Commons; an extension to again delay Brexit; or “if Parliament and the government decide to revoke Article 50”.
He said: “I would be very keen to sit down with Prime Minister Johnson and talk through with him how we got to this point because I think there is a bit of an effort rot make out the withdrawal agreement, including the backstop, was an invention of the Dublin Government or imposed by the European Union.
“That’s not the case. There is an attempt make out that it is undemocratic too but it has been agreed by 28 Governments, including the UK Government, and the European Parliament, all of which followed democratic procedures.”