This evening an Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister, @theresa_may met at Farmleigh House in Dublin to discuss the ongoing political impasse in Northern Ireland and the latest Brexit developments following their respective engagements in Belfast and Brussels. #Brexitpic.twitter.com/MN8GKnAqzH
Cartoon in today’s The Times Ireland edition by Harry Burton
Tonight in Dublin Mr Varadkar will meet Mrs May, whose government relies on the support of the DUP.
Ahead of her meeting with the Taoiseach over dinner, Britain’s Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will hold talks in Dublin with his Irish counterpart, Séamus Woulfe.
Mr Cox has been leading work within Whitehall on providing either a time limit on the backstop or giving the UK an exit mechanism from it.
Both proposals have received a dusty response from Dublin, which insists the backstop cannot be time limited if it is to provide an effective “insurance policy” against the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
UK Prime Minister meets European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker a day after European Council President Donald Tusk said there is a “special place in Hell” for Brexiteers “without a plan”.
In their joint statement following talks in Brussels, Mrs May and Mr Juncker said: “The prime minister described the context in the UK Parliament, and the motivation behind last week’s vote in the House of Commons seeking a legally-binding change to the terms of the backstop.
“She raised various options for dealing with these concerns in the context of the Withdrawal Agreement in line with her commitments to the Parliament.”
Media captionDonald Tusk: “Special place in hell” for those without Brexit plan
Mr Juncker “underlined that the EU27 will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement” but “expressed his openness” to amending the future relationship to be “more ambitious in terms of content and speed”.
Mrs May is now meeting European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and the Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt.
PM asked if she will extend Article 50 if she loses vote next week. She replies that Parliament should have a role in what future relationship with EU will be but doesn’t explicitly rule out extending it…