Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson | Pool photo by Noel Mullen via Getty Images
Johnson and Varadkar hold ‘constructive’ Brexit discussion
The prime ministers of Britain and Ireland ‘see a pathway to a possible deal,’ says Downing Street.
Updated 10/10/19, 6:43 PM CET
LONDON — Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar held a “detailed and constructive discussion” on the details of the U.K. government’s latest proposal for a Brexit deal.
The meeting, which took place at lunchtime in the village of Thornton Hough on the Wirral, was widely seen as Johnson’s last push for a deal ahead next week’s European Council summit where he must make dramatic progress if he is to meet his self-imposed deadline for pulling the U.K. out of the EU by October 31.
Prior to the meeting, the Irish gave Johnson’s proposals — which envision setting up a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic and a regulatory border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. — a frosty reception. The plan appears to have been widely rejected by the EU.
However, speaking at a press conference following the meeting, Varadkar said that following a “very positive and very promising” meeting it is now possible for both parties to strike a deal by the “end of October.”
“I do see a pathway towards an agreement in the coming weeks,” he said.
The Irish prime minister added that negotiations needed to continue to ensure that any long-term arrangement that applies to Northern Ireland has the consent of its people and that there is no customs border on the island of Ireland.