The Irish Taoiseach is reliant on support from Fianna Fail but the confidence and supply agreement with his Fine Gael party is due to expire this month. However Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said “circumstances have changed” and agreed Mr Varadkar should stay at the helm to tackle Brexit, adding an election now would not be in the national interest. Addressing the Irish parliament yesterday, Mr Martin said the turmoil in the UK made a no-deal Brexit more likely.
He said: “We’re in a time of heightened danger for Ireland as the risk of a no-deal Brexit increases.
“Fianna Fail is determined that the political chaos we see in London will not be allowed to spread to Ireland.”
Mr Martin said his party would extend its support throughout 2019, meaning an election will not be called until early 2020.
His comments came as Theresa May and Mr Varadkar were due to travel to Brussels to meet face-to-face at a crunch European Council summit.
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Mrs May is scrambling to secure concrete reassurances from the EU over the Irish border backstop in her Brexit deal.
She is hoping that further concessions will allay the fears of Brexiteers and the Democratic Unionist Party that the backstop arrangement could indefinitely shackle Britain to Brussels through a customs union.
But speaking at the start of the two-day summit in Brussels today, Mr Varadkar said he expects promises made by Mrs May on the Northern Ireland backstop to be honoured.
He said: “What we want is an enduring assurance that there will not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, no matter what the circumstances.
“That is an assurance the UK Government gave us over a year ago. The Withdrawal Agreement puts that into law and now we would like to see that agreement ratified.”
He went on to suggest that Britain could remove the threat of a no-deal Brexit by revoking or delaying its departure from the EU through the Article 50 process.
He said: “It is possible, if the UK wishes to, to revoke Article 50 or, if that is a step too far, to seek an extension of Article 50 so that the UK Parliament has more time to come together and decide what they would like the outcome to be.
“It is absolutely within the gift of the United Kingdom to take no-deal off the table if they wish to.”