Brexit LIVE: Varadkar says UK ‘not as important' as it used to be – 'reality check coming'

Posted on Jul 12 2019 - 8:21pm by admin

The Irish Prime Minister hit out at Tory leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, who have both pledged to negotiate a better Brexit deal with the EU. Mr Varadkar told Newstalk: “Politicians when they’re in campaign mode – and both of those men are in campaign mode – tend to campaign in poetry, in simple terms and high level messages.

“When you get into office you govern in prose. And I imagine whoever is the new prime minister is going to face a very serious reality check when they sit down with their officials and civil servants to be fully briefed on the realities of Brexit if they don’t know them already.”

On the UK, Mr Varadkar added: “As a country and economy they are not as important as they used to be.”

The new Tory leader will be announced on July 23 and they will take over as prime minister the next day.

Mr Johnson has promised to take the UK out of the bloc with or without a deal on Halloween.

The Foreign Secretary has admitted he would delay Brexit if an agreement was within reach.


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Leo Varadkar has claimed the next PM will face a “very serious reality check” on Brexit (Image: GETTY)

2.05pm update: Leadsom confronts BBC presenter on Johnson’s ‘big picture’ Brexit plan

Andrea Leadsom engaged in a tense confrontation with BBC Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark over Tory frontrunner Mr Johnson’s stance on proroguing Parliament to secure Brexit.

Asked if Mr Johnson was right to refuse to rule out the option, Mrs Leadsom said: “Well, again you are talking about a very specific tactic which he is not willing to be boxed into.

“I myself don’t believe any Prime Minister would choose to prorogue Parliament.

“What Boris is doing is keeping to the big picture commitment which is that we will leave the EU.

“Rather than being pinned down by will you do this, will you do that, he is focused.”

1.55pm update: Hammond warns proroguing Parliament will spark ‘constitutional crisis’

Chancellor Philip Hammond has predicted a “constitutional crisis” if the next prime minister suspends Parliament to try and push through a no-deal Brexit.

He told Bloomberg: “If anybody were to attempt to shut down Parliament in order to carry out a course of action which Parliament is known to oppose, that would be very serious indeed.

“That would provoke a constitutional crisis.

“And, if we aren’t able to prevent that course of action through Parliament, then, certainly, there will be resort to the courts, and I strongly support the position that Sir John Major has taken.”

1.10pm update: Ann Widdecombe blasts Tories – ‘No confidence to deliver Brexit’

Ann Widdecombe has warned she has “no confidence” in the Tories to deliver Brexit.

The former Tory MP, who is now an MEP for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, pointed out that while the Prime Minister is set to be replaced the “parliamentary arithmetic” has not changed.

Ms Widdecombe said: “Given that the parliamentary arithmetic has not altered, I have no confidence in the Government to deliver Brexit.”

The Brexiteer insisted that the UK must leave the EU “with or without a deal” on October 31.

And Ms Widdecombe added that the Brexit Party could go on to win a general election following their victory in May’s European elections.

It comes as Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt are battling it out to replace Theresa May, whose Brexit deal was rejected three times by MPs.

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Ann Widdecombe has warned she has “no confidence” in the Tories to deliver Brexi (Image: PA)

12.20pm update: Remainer Lords plot fresh bid to stop no deal

A cross-party group of peers have launched a fresh bid to block the next prime minister shutting down Parliament to push through a no-deal Brexit, according to reports.

The group in the House of Lords have put forward an amendment to legislation on Northern Ireland in a move designed to stop Theresa May’s replacement taking the UK out of the EU without a deal on October 31 by proroguing Parliament.

The proposal builds on the change to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill by arch-Remainer Dominic Grieve which was passed by the Commons earlier this week, Politico reported.

Mr Grieve’s amendment forces the Government to report back every two weeks on attempts to resolve the deadlock on power sharing in Northern Ireland.

The latest Remainer plot threatens to make it harder for Mr Johnson to suspend Parliament as a last resort to leave the EU on Halloween.

11.35am update: New Green MEP says he’s been ‘duped’ and ‘stepped into maze of bureaucracy’

Writing for Politico website, Magid Magid said: “Next to nobody in Brussels has any clue what the European Union truly stands for — beyond a flag and an anthem — and more crucially, where it is heading. And that includes the EU leaders and senior officials soullessly waddling through the corridors of power.

“When I arrived in the EU capital, I expected to find it brimming with activity and potential answers to these questions.

“Instead, I felt duped: Making a tangible impact on constituents’ lives is apparently not what being an MEP is all about.

“When I look at my daily to-do list, I feel as though I’ve left the shores of the real life and stepped into a maze of bureaucracy, needless technicalities and political performance.”

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Magid Magid is one of nine Green MEPs (Image: GETTY)

10.50am update: Michael Portillo dismantles Richard Branson’s ‘irrational’ no-deal Brexit warnings

Former Tory minister Michael Portillo blasted the billionaire businessman during a fiery rant on BBC This Week.

Mr Portillo said: “Richard Branson was on the radio this morning talking outrage in terms of how appalling it was that there might be no deal.

“Can you imagine that Richard Branson ever goes into discussions with Airbus or Boeing saying I am not going to leave this room without a deal, ‘whatever happens I am going to make a deal in this room’. Of course, he doesn’t.

“He is wanting politicians to behave in an irrational way in which he would not himself ever behave.

“So a no deal and going around Parliament – all of these things have to be there because you have to create a complete fog in which the negotiations are going to take place.”

10.15am update: No-deal Brexit would pile pressure on union – Lidington

A no-deal Brexit would increase pressure on the union, David Lidington has warned.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, the Cabinet Office minister said: “I think the union of the United Kingdom is under pressure at the moment.

“The fact that in the 2016 Europe referendum two nations of the UK voted to leave, two nations voted to remain, inevitably makes this a very difficult, delicate process.

“I think that with good will and a good deal, those tensions can be handled, but I think that the risk of no deal is two-fold.

“I believe a no-deal outcome would do very serious harm to jobs, living standards and investment in the UK, and that is the consistent message I’ve been getting from businesses large and small.

“But also I think the pressures on the union would be greater because I think that damage that a no-deal exit would cause, the very divisive nature of the politics of such an outcome, would give heart and opportunities to those who, particularly in Scotland and in Northern Ireland, would like to see the UK as it currently exists brought to an end.

“Whereas I believe that the UK is a tremendously successful political and economic project that’s given great benefit to everyone living in it.”

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A no-deal Brexit would increase pressure on the union, David Lidington has warned (Image: GETTY)

9.40am update: MPs plan Commons ‘sit-in’ to stop Johnson shutting down Parliament

Chancellor Philip Hammond has reportedly told colleagues that MPs could mount a Commons “sit-in” if Mr Johnson tries to force through a no-deal Brexit by proroguing Parliament.

The arch-Remainer is expected to be fired if Mr Johnson takes over from Mrs May.

One former minister said: “Philip will be the leader of the rebel group once he has been sacked. Lots of different ideas are being discussed.”

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Philip Hammond is reportedly plotting to block a no-deal Brexit (Image: GETTY)

9am update: ‘Thousands of jobs’ could be lost in no-deal Brexit – Clark

Business Secretary Greg Clark told Sky News that “many thousands of jobs” could be lost if there is a no-deal Brexit.

He said: “I think that every person who considers the evidence that companies have given, whether it’s in the automotive sector, whether it’s in the food sector, whether it’s in aerospace, whether it’s in industries up and down the country.

“You know if you become less efficient and your ability to trade is impeded then of course losing your competitiveness means that there will be jobs that will be lost.”

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Greg Clark warned “many thousands of jobs” could be lost if there is a no-deal Brexit (Image: GETTY)

8.35am update: Johnson insists ‘common sense is breaking out’ over Brexit

Speaking at a hustings in Kent last night, the Tory favourite said “common sense” would prevail and MPs would support his efforts to take the UK out of the EU.

He said: “When John Major talks about proroguing and all that legal wrangling and what have you … I think actually, that common sense is breaking out.”

Mr Johnson added that “time after time MPs say that they are going to try to take no deal off the table and, lo and behold, it remains on the table”.

On the Halloween deadline he said: “We will be ready on October 31 and we’ve got to get on and do it.”

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Theresa May said she “did everything” she could to get Brexit “over the line” (Image: GETTY)

8.15am update: May ‘did everything’ she could to get Brexit ‘over the line’

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Mrs May said: “I did everything I could to get it over the line!

“I was willing to sit down with Jeremy Corbyn, willing to sacrifice my premiership – give up my job!

“People have asked me: ‘Why didn’t you tip the table over?’ But if you do that constantly, it’s like the little girl crying wolf – it ceases to have an effect.”

On Mr Johnson’s claim he will solve the deadlock with “positive energy”, she said: “I can assure you I put positive energy into it!”

And the Prime Minister insisted that her successor will not be able to secure further concessions from the bloc, saying: “The EU have said they don’t want to and won’t reopen agreement.”

Mrs May also hit out at Tories who did not back her Brexit deal, which was rejected by MPs three times.

She said: “I had assumed mistakenly that the tough bit of the negotiation was with the EU, that Parliament would accept the vote of the British people and just want to get it done, that people who’d spent their lives campaigning for Brexit would vote to get us out on March 29 and May 27. But they didn’t.”

The Prime Minister added that she was attacked from both sides.

She said: “People say ‘you are being far too rigid! You’re insisting on this!’ Then, on the other hand, people say: ‘You’ve given everything away. You’ve compromised and moved too far’. They can’t both be true.”

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