EJ Menswear writes:
Theresa May launches “Black Friday Agreement” at Sligo menswear store.
Previously: You’re Only Jong Unce
Scenes from the meeting between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Brussels, Belgium last night
Leo Varadkar and EU chiefs have given Theresa May two more months to come up with a Brexit solution or face getting turfed out of Europe with no deal.
This would be disastrous for both Ireland and the UK and would almost certainly see the return of a hard border between North and South.
However, the 27 remaining EU heads of State on Wednesday were supportive of Ms May in her efforts.
Ms May will have to come forward with fresh proposals at the next summit in mid-December outlining the British position ahead of formal Brexit in March.
…the Prime Minister acknowledges the European Union’s backstop drafted in the December withdrawal agreement can not feature an end date.
Senior EU officials revealed Mrs May made the admission to Leo Varadkar before briefing the remaining EU leaders on her latest Brexit strategy.
Mr Varadkar insisted a “legally operative backstop” that would come into effect immediately after the transition period must still be included in the withdrawal agreement in order for it to be acceptable to Ireland.
This has remained a Brussels demand as the bloc’s leaders seek assurances Brexit will not create a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Mr Varadkar did, however, move to offer the Prime Minister an opportunity to make the backstop more palatable in Westminster by using creative wording.
“There can’t be a time-limit to it,” said one official. “But we can try to find a wording to show it’ll never be used.”
— Gráinne Connolly (@grainne555) July 20, 2018
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald (centre) met with Britian’s Prime Minister Theresa May (top ) ahead of Ms May giving a speech in Belfast this morning about Brexit.
Ms McDonald spoke to Philip Boucher Hayes on RTÉ Radio One after they met.
From the interview…
Mary Lou McDonald: “It seems to me that she has come to Ireland to deliver a speech that really represents picking a fight with Ireland and picking a fight with the EU. I have put it to her that the rhetoric around protecting the Good Friday Agreement, in all of its parts, the rhetoric around preventing any hardening of the border is just that – it’s rhetoric. And it superseded entirely by her instinct, her desire to play to the Brexiteer gallery back in Britain and within he DUP. So it was a firm meeting a very challenging meeting. I said to her, umpteen times and I reiterated it again – a) that Ireland cannot and will not be the collateral damage of the Tory/Brexit. I have to tell you Philip I came away from that meeting with no sense of reassurance…
Philip Boucher Hayes: “Let’s break it down bit by bit Mary Lou. What was her reaction to your suggestion that Britain was picking a fight with Ireland?”
Mary Lou McDonald: “Of course she rejects that. I think you will see and you will hear when the, when her speech is delivered shortly that it is very much posited as a Unionist speech. I mean, there’s no great surprise in that. Theresa May is a Unionist and that’s fair enough.
“But she is particularly tone deaf to politics here in this part of Ireland. She doesn’t seem to have any deep appreciation of the fact that some 50% of the population would not ascribe to themselves the definition or the identity of Unionist. She seems to have only a very superficial understanding that the north of Ireland is a place apart…this place isn’t as British essentially, things are different here. And Ireland, the island, the North, in particular, but the island as a whole, because of the particularities here, requires a bespoke solution and absolutely needs a worst case scenario contingency plan – the backstop as it’s called…”
Listen back in full here
Pic: Paul Reilly
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) July 20, 2018
David Blevins (Sky News): “Prime Minister, you said the EU backstop would be a breach of the Good Friday Agreement because the majority of people here wish to remain in the UK. But the majority of people here have also voted to remain in the EU. So are you not now in breach of the Good Friday Agreement?”
Theresa May: “I think, if we look at what happened in the referendum. A decision was taken that, across the United Kingdom, people would be asked their view on whether or not to leave the European Union. And parliament said and Government said that it would accept that collective view that was taken across the United Kingdom and that is exactly what we are doing. And within the UK there were different votes in different parts of the UK but, overall, the result was that people wanted to leave the EU and we’re delivering on that and I believe that it’s an important part of our, of people’s trust in politics, given that parliament said it was the overall choice of the people of the UK, that we respect that overall choice that they took.”
US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May (top) at Chequers, Aylesbury , Buckinghamshire and inflatable Trump during protests in in Westminster, London.
His finest hour.
This morning’s UK The Sun
He said the Brexit proposals Mrs May and her cabinet thrashed out at the PM’s country house Chequers last week “would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States.”
“We have enough difficulty with the European Union,” he said, saying the EU has “not treated the United States fairly on trading”.
He also said Mrs May had not listened to his advice on how to do a Brexit deal, saying: “I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me. She wanted to go a different route,” he said.
Oh, wait now.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May greets Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, on Downing Street this morning
The DUP’s 10 MPs will back the Tories in key Commons votes, starting with the Queen’s Speech later this week, but there will be no formal coalition.
The talks focused on financial support for Northern Ireland and Brexit.
The DUP has claimed the UK government has agreed to improve the treatment of military veterans in Northern Ireland as part of the agreement but played down reports that it had sought £2bn in extra funding for Northern Ireland in return for their support.
DUP and the Conservative party have agreed to:
Keeping the triple lock for pensions
Keeping winter fuel payments for all pensioners
Keeping defence spending at 2% of GDP
Extending the armed forces covenant to Northern Ireland
There is also a financial package worth £1bn over two years. There will also be “new flexibilities” in terms of how £500m already committed to Northern Ireland can be spent.
— Today FM News (@TodayFMNews) June 19, 2017
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets the British Prime Minister Theresa May outside No 10 in London.
It’s not a caption competition until you say so…
Video: Today FM
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British Prime Minister Theresa May at a joint press conference after a meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin in January
The British government attempted to block a move by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to insert an Irish unity declaration into the text of an extraordinary summit of EU leaders at the end of April, during which they adopted the EU’s negotiating mandate ahead of the Brexit talks.
The text spelled out that in the event of a future unity referendum in Ireland, as envisaged by the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland would automatically rejoin the European Union.
However, RTÉ News understands that the British government attempted to get the declaration delayed until after the UK General Election, so as not to damage Theresa May’s chances of victory.
…The so-called unity clause was to be inserted into the minutes of an extraordinary summit meeting in Brussels on 29 April.
However, two days beforehand, Irish officials were subject to what one source described as a sustained diplomatic offensive by Britain to try to block the declaration.
…In the event, Mr Kenny requested the clause, and it was unanimously adopted by the other 26 member states.