Theresa May and Leo Varadkar

The head of state has actually satisfied Leo Varadkar in Dublin for talks concentrated on Brexit and also the political predicament in NorthernIreland

Theresa May is currently going back to the UK after having supper with the taoiseach (Irish head of state).

The talks in Farmleigh House lasted concerning 2 hrs.

The conference happened after Mr Vardkar satisfied Northern Ireland’s major political events in Belfast on Friday.

Mrs May was gone along with in Dublin by the UK’s Brexit mediator Olly Robbins and also her principal of team Gavin Barwell.

The Irish federal government claimed both leaders reviewed “the latest Brexit developments” in addition to the”ongoing political impasse in Northern Ireland”

The conference follows the EU claimed it will certainly hold even more talks with the UK to aid the head of state obtain a Brexit offer via theCommons

Earlier, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox satisfied his Irish equivalent after taking a trip to Dublin for talks.

Speaking in Belfast, Mr Varadkar claimed it was “not a day for negotiations” however it was a possibility to “share perspectives”.

He included that he was seeking to bring back self-confidence and also trust fund with the head of state throughout their conference on Friday evening.

Analysis: Diplomacy over dauphinoise potatoes

By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI political press reporter

A Friday evening in Dublin for Theresa May as she proceeds searching for a means via for her Brexit offer.

The head of state came in person with her Irish equivalent over a fillet of beef with dauphinoise potatoes and also eco-friendly beans.

It’s been a polite speedy of a week as Mr Varadkar and also Mrs May have actually jumped from Belfast to Brussels, both looking for support for their particular placements.

It appears specific that the House of Commons will certainly not pass any type of Brexit offer that consists of the present backstop.

But the Irish federal government once again today urged it needs to remain, with Mr Varadkar including that he and also the EU talk to one voice on this.

On Monday, UK-EU talks start (once again) in Brussels – however there’s no indication of a concession boiling down the tracks.

Several cabinet ministers have told the BBC a no-deal Brexit could lead to a vote on Irish marriage.

But Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster put cool water on the possibility, claiming that the 1998 Good Friday Agreement lays out “criteria for a border poll, and it hasn’t been met – therefore it will not be called”.

What is the present Brexit state-of-play?

On Thursday, Mrs May satisfied EU leaders in Brussels in a proposal to safeguard modifications to the Irish boundary backstop in the Brexit arrangement.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ruled out legally-binding changes to the backstop clause in the 585- web page withdrawal file.

But he claimed the EU would certainly be open to including words to the non-binding future connections record that selects the withdrawal arrangement.

Other authorities, consisting of European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt, have claimed the backstop is “non-negotiable”.

On Wednesday, Mr Varadkar held meetings with top EU officials concerning the backstop and also Ireland’s strategies for a no-deal end result.

He claimed that while he was “open to further discussions” with the UK federal government concerning article-Brexit connections, the legally-binding withdrawal arrangement stayed “the best deal possible”.

Speaking in Belfast, Mr Varadkar claimed “time is running out” to concur a bargain, however that job required to proceed in order to guarantee arrangement was gotten to.

“When it comes to Brexit this is a negotiation that has the UK on one side and EU on the other,” he claimed.

“Any negotiation can only happen with Ireland and the EU working together.”

Where are we with the backstop?

It is the insurance coverage to preserve an open boundary in between Northern Ireland and also the Republic of Ireland unless and also up until one more option is discovered.

The UK and also EU made a dedication to prevent physical obstacles or examine the boundary, if no UK-EU profession offer is concurred prior to the Brexit change duration finishes.

Many individuals are worried that the return of such checks would certainly place the tranquility procedure in jeopardy.

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Confused by Brexit lingo? Reality Check unloads the essentials

But there has actually been resistance to the backstop from the DUP and also Brexiteer MPs, that think its terms can maintain the UK linked to EU guidelines in the long-term.

Last month, MPs backed a modification in Parliament calls for “alternative arrangements” to change the backstop.

A team of Conservative MPs has held talks aimed at finding other Brexit options that would certainly prevent a tough boundary.

How did Northern Ireland events respond to Leo Varadkar’s browse through?

The taoiseach took a trip to Belfast to go over the “ongoing political impasse”, the Irish federal government claimed.

Northern Ireland has actually lacked a devolved federal government for greater than 2 years.

Mr Varadkar, whose journey came days after Theresa May met the parties at Stormont to discuss her bid to make changes to the withdrawal agreement, claimed he took a trip north to “hear the perspective of the main parties”.

DUP leader Arlene Foster claimed her event had a “wide-ranging” conversation with the taoiseach.

Mrs Foster additionally claimed some individuals were taking part in “project fear” with the Brexit settlements.

The event’s replacement leader, Nigel Dodds, claimed the backstop “is the problem”, however would certainly not define which feasible different his event is sustaining.

Sinn Féin’s vice-president Michelle O’Neill claimed her event would certainly “hold the taoiseach’s feet to the fire” when it involves safeguarding the backstop.

She claimed he had actually offered her a guarantee he would certainly stay strong with his position.

The event additionally claimed they have actually been calling consistently for a boundary survey, which they had actually advised Mr Varadkar to start intending for one.

The Ulster Unionist Party’s (UUP) Brexit speaker Steve Aiken claimed there required to be “level-headed conversations” which the UUP had actually informed the taoiseach exactly how worried they are by the regards to the Irish boundary backstop.

The UUP claimed it is servicing a variety of different propositions it desires the UK and also EU to think about.

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long claimed they had a considerable and also extremely useful conversation with Mr Varadkar.

“It’s fairly clear those this week suggesting there is some chance of the UK and Irish government doing a side deal without the EU are chasing after a no-way scenario,” she claimed.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood claimed that it had actually been a “good meeting” and also included that he and also the taoiseach are “on the same side of this argument”.

“We have been watching with some dismay what has been going on in Westminster over the last couple of months,” he claimed.

“I don’t think anybody within the Irish government or the European Commission sees any opportunity for diluting the protection of citizens in Northern Ireland.”

What occurs following?

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and also EU mediator Michel Barnier will certainly hold talks in Strasbourg on Monday, as the EU and also UK Brexit discussing groups go over recommended modifications to the offer.

British resources state the talks will certainly consist of conversation of the legally-binding withdrawal arrangement, the BBC’s Brussels press reporter Adam Fleming claimed.

An EU resource claimed the more talks are a possibility to pay attention to the UK’s suggestions.

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Mrs May and also Mr Juncker will certainly reunite prior to completion of February, to examine development.

The head of state is anticipated to place the offer to an enact the Commons in the direction of completion of February.

She claimed the strategy needs to transform if it is to win the assistance of MPs that advised her to look for “alternative arrangements” to the backstop when declining the offer last month.

Theresa May and Leo Varadkar

Theresa May has met Leo Varadkar to update him on her ongoing efforts to get changes to the Brexit withdrawal deal.

The prime minister and taoiseach (Irish prime minister) had dinner in Dublin on Friday night.

The EU has said it will hold more talks with the UK to help the prime minister get a Brexit deal through the Commons

The meeting took place after Mr Varadkar met Northern Ireland’s main political parties in Belfast on Friday.

Mrs May arrived at Farmleigh House in Dublin shortly after 20:00 BST, accompanied by the UK’s Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins and her chief of staff Gavin Barwell.

She left to return to the UK after 22:30.

It is believed the talks focused on Brexit and the ongoing political deadlock in Northern Ireland.

Earlier, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox met his Irish counterpart after travelling to Dublin for talks.

Speaking in Belfast, Mr Varadkar said it was “not a day for negotiations” but that it was an opportunity to “share perspectives”.

Analysis: Diplomacy over dauphinoise potatoes

By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI Political Reporter

A Friday night in Dublin for Theresa May as she continues trying to find a way through for her Brexit deal.

The PM came face-to-face with her Irish counterpart over a fillet of beef with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans.

It’s been a diplomatic whirlwind of a week as both Leo Varadkar and Mrs May have bounced from Belfast to Brussels, both seeking backing for their respective positions.

It seems certain that the House of Commons won’t pass any Brexit deal that includes the current backstop.

But the Irish government again today insisted it has to stay, with Mr Varadkar adding that he and the EU speak with one voice on this.

On Monday, UK-EU talks begin (again) in Brussels – but there’s no sign of a compromise coming down the tracks.

He also said he was looking to restore confidence and trust with the prime minister when they meet on Friday night.

Several cabinet ministers have told the BBC a no-deal Brexit could lead to a vote on Irish unification.

But DUP leader Arlene Foster poured cold water on the prospect, saying that the 1998 Good Friday Agreement sets out “criteria for a border poll, and it hasn’t been met – therefore it will not be called”.

What emerged from the PM’s Brussels trip?

On Thursday, Mrs May met EU leaders in Brussels in a bid to secure changes to the Irish border backstop in the Brexit agreement.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ruled out legally-binding changes to the backstop clause in the 585-page withdrawal document.

But he said the EU would be open to adding words to the non-binding future relations document that goes with the withdrawal agreement.

Other officials, including European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt, have said the backstop is “non-negotiable”.

What is the Irish government’s view?

On Wednesday, Mr Varadkar held meetings with top EU officials about the backstop and Ireland’s plans for a no-deal outcome.

He said that while he was “open to further discussions” with the UK government about post-Brexit relations, the legally-binding withdrawal agreement remained “the best deal possible”.

The backstop was needed “as a legal guarantee to ensure that there is no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland”, he added.

Speaking in Belfast on Thursday, Mr Varadkar said “time is running out” to agree a deal, but that work needed to continue in order to ensure agreement was reached.

“When it comes to Brexit this is a negotiation that has the UK on one side and EU on the other,” he said.

“Any negotiation can only happen with Ireland and the EU working together.”

Where are we with the backstop?

It is the insurance policy to maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland unless and until another solution is found.

The UK and EU made a commitment to avoid physical barriers or checks on the border, if no UK-EU trade deal is agreed before the Brexit transition period ends.

Many people are concerned that the return of such checks would put the peace process at risk.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Confused by Brexit jargon? Reality Check unpacks the basics

But there has been opposition to the backstop from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Brexiteer MPs, who believe its terms could keep the UK tied to EU rules in the long term.

Last month, MPs backed an amendment in Parliament calling for “alternative arrangements” to replace the backstop.

A group of Conservative MPs has held talks aimed at finding other Brexit options that would avoid a hard border.

On Wednesday, it emerged that they had scrapped a planned visit to Northern Ireland to meet business representatives, however the invite has since been re-issued.

Business leaders in Northern Ireland are due to attend a meeting at Stormont on Friday with the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) border delivery group to discuss post-Brexit border arrangements.

The meeting had been cancelled three times.

Why did Leo Varadkar travel to Belfast?

The Irish government said Mr Varadkar’s talks in Belfast would provide him with an opportunity to discuss the “ongoing political impasse” in Northern Ireland, which has been without a devolved executive and assembly for more than two years.

He said he had travelled north to “hear the perspective of the main parties”.

“We share common objectives to make sure that there is a deal in relation to Brexit, to avoid a hard border, and to maintain frictionless trade.”

Mr Varadkar’s trip comes days after Theresa May met the parties at Stormont to discuss her bid to make changes to the withdrawal agreement.

How have the Northern Ireland parties reacted?

The DUP were the first party to meet Mr Varadkar, with others due to have talks with the taoiseach later on Friday.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said her party had a “wide-ranging” discussion.

Mrs Foster also said some people were engaging in “project fear” with the Brexit negotiations.

The party’s deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, said the backstop “is the problem”, but would not specify which possible alternative to it that his party is fully backing.

Sinn Féin’s vice-president Michelle O’Neill said her party would “hold the taoiseach’s feet to the fire” when it comes to defending the backstop.

She said he had given her an assurance he would remain firm with his stance.

The party also said they have been calling repeatedly for a border poll, and that they had urged Mr Varadkar to begin planning for one.

The UUP’s Brexit spokesperson Steve Aiken said there needed to be “level-headed conversations” and that the UUP had told the taoiseach how concerned they are by the terms of the Irish border backstop.

The UUP said it is working on a number of alternative proposals it wants the UK and EU to consider.

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said they had a very constructive and wide ranging discussion with Mr Varadkar.

“It’s fairly clear those this week suggesting there is some chance of the UK and Irish government doing a side deal without the EU are chasing after a no way scenario,” she said.

The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said that it had been a “good meeting” and added that he and the taoiseach are “on the same side of this argument”.

“We have been watching with some dismay what has been going on in Westminster over the last couple of months,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody within the Irish government or the European Commission sees any opportunity for diluting the protection of citizens in Northern Ireland.”

What happens next?

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and EU negotiator Michel Barnier will hold talks in Strasbourg on Monday, as the EU and UK Brexit negotiating teams discuss proposed changes to the deal.

British sources say the talks will include discussion of the legally-binding withdrawal agreement, the BBC’s Brussels reporter Adam Fleming said.

An EU source said the further talks are an opportunity to listen to the UK’s ideas.

Please upgrade your browser

Mrs May and Mr Juncker will meet again before the end of February, to review progress.

The prime minister is expected to put the deal to a vote in the Commons towards the end of February.

She said the plan must change if it is to win the support of MPs who urged her to seek “alternative arrangements” to the backstop when rejecting the deal last month.



Theresa May and Leo Varadkar

Theresa May has met Leo Varadkar to update him on her ongoing efforts to get changes to the Brexit withdrawal deal.

The prime minister and taoiseach (Irish prime minister) had dinner in Dublin on Friday night.

The EU has said it will hold more talks with the UK to help the prime minister get a Brexit deal through the Commons

The meeting took place after Mr Varadkar met Northern Ireland’s main political parties in Belfast on Friday.

Mrs May arrived at Farmleigh House in Dublin shortly after 20:00 BST, accompanied by the UK’s Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins and her chief of staff Gavin Barwell.

She left to return to the UK after 22:30.

It is believed the talks focused on Brexit and the ongoing political deadlock in Northern Ireland.

Earlier, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox met his Irish counterpart after travelling to Dublin for talks.

Speaking in Belfast, Mr Varadkar said it was “not a day for negotiations” but that it was an opportunity to “share perspectives”.

Analysis: Diplomacy over dauphinoise potatoes

By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI Political Reporter

A Friday night in Dublin for Theresa May as she continues trying to find a way through for her Brexit deal.

The PM came face-to-face with her Irish counterpart over a fillet of beef with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans.

It’s been a diplomatic whirlwind of a week as both Leo Varadkar and Mrs May have bounced from Belfast to Brussels, both seeking backing for their respective positions.

It seems certain that the House of Commons won’t pass any Brexit deal that includes the current backstop.

But the Irish government again today insisted it has to stay, with Mr Varadkar adding that he and the EU speak with one voice on this.

On Monday, UK-EU talks begin (again) in Brussels – but there’s no sign of a compromise coming down the tracks.

He also said he was looking to restore confidence and trust with the prime minister when they meet on Friday night.

Several cabinet ministers have told the BBC a no-deal Brexit could lead to a vote on Irish unification.

But DUP leader Arlene Foster poured cold water on the prospect, saying that the 1998 Good Friday Agreement sets out “criteria for a border poll, and it hasn’t been met – therefore it will not be called”.

What emerged from the PM’s Brussels trip?

On Thursday, Mrs May met EU leaders in Brussels in a bid to secure changes to the Irish border backstop in the Brexit agreement.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ruled out legally-binding changes to the backstop clause in the 585-page withdrawal document.

But he said the EU would be open to adding words to the non-binding future relations document that goes with the withdrawal agreement.

Other officials, including European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt, have said the backstop is “non-negotiable”.

What is the Irish government’s view?

On Wednesday, Mr Varadkar held meetings with top EU officials about the backstop and Ireland’s plans for a no-deal outcome.

He said that while he was “open to further discussions” with the UK government about post-Brexit relations, the legally-binding withdrawal agreement remained “the best deal possible”.

The backstop was needed “as a legal guarantee to ensure that there is no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland”, he added.

Speaking in Belfast on Thursday, Mr Varadkar said “time is running out” to agree a deal, but that work needed to continue in order to ensure agreement was reached.

“When it comes to Brexit this is a negotiation that has the UK on one side and EU on the other,” he said.

“Any negotiation can only happen with Ireland and the EU working together.”

Where are we with the backstop?

It is the insurance policy to maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland unless and until another solution is found.

The UK and EU made a commitment to avoid physical barriers or checks on the border, if no UK-EU trade deal is agreed before the Brexit transition period ends.

Many people are concerned that the return of such checks would put the peace process at risk.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Confused by Brexit jargon? Reality Check unpacks the basics

But there has been opposition to the backstop from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Brexiteer MPs, who believe its terms could keep the UK tied to EU rules in the long term.

Last month, MPs backed an amendment in Parliament calling for “alternative arrangements” to replace the backstop.

A group of Conservative MPs has held talks aimed at finding other Brexit options that would avoid a hard border.

On Wednesday, it emerged that they had scrapped a planned visit to Northern Ireland to meet business representatives, however the invite has since been re-issued.

Business leaders in Northern Ireland are due to attend a meeting at Stormont on Friday with the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) border delivery group to discuss post-Brexit border arrangements.

The meeting had been cancelled three times.

Why did Leo Varadkar travel to Belfast?

The Irish government said Mr Varadkar’s talks in Belfast would provide him with an opportunity to discuss the “ongoing political impasse” in Northern Ireland, which has been without a devolved executive and assembly for more than two years.

He said he had travelled north to “hear the perspective of the main parties”.

“We share common objectives to make sure that there is a deal in relation to Brexit, to avoid a hard border, and to maintain frictionless trade.”

Mr Varadkar’s trip comes days after Theresa May met the parties at Stormont to discuss her bid to make changes to the withdrawal agreement.

How have the Northern Ireland parties reacted?

The DUP were the first party to meet Mr Varadkar, with others due to have talks with the taoiseach later on Friday.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said her party had a “wide-ranging” discussion.

Mrs Foster also said some people were engaging in “project fear” with the Brexit negotiations.

The party’s deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, said the backstop “is the problem”, but would not specify which possible alternative to it that his party is fully backing.

Sinn Féin’s vice-president Michelle O’Neill said her party would “hold the taoiseach’s feet to the fire” when it comes to defending the backstop.

She said he had given her an assurance he would remain firm with his stance.

The party also said they have been calling repeatedly for a border poll, and that they had urged Mr Varadkar to begin planning for one.

The UUP’s Brexit spokesperson Steve Aiken said there needed to be “level-headed conversations” and that the UUP had told the taoiseach how concerned they are by the terms of the Irish border backstop.

The UUP said it is working on a number of alternative proposals it wants the UK and EU to consider.

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said they had a very constructive and wide ranging discussion with Mr Varadkar.

“It’s fairly clear those this week suggesting there is some chance of the UK and Irish government doing a side deal without the EU are chasing after a no way scenario,” she said.

The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said that it had been a “good meeting” and added that he and the taoiseach are “on the same side of this argument”.

“We have been watching with some dismay what has been going on in Westminster over the last couple of months,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody within the Irish government or the European Commission sees any opportunity for diluting the protection of citizens in Northern Ireland.”

What happens next?

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and EU negotiator Michel Barnier will hold talks in Strasbourg on Monday, as the EU and UK Brexit negotiating teams discuss proposed changes to the deal.

British sources say the talks will include discussion of the legally-binding withdrawal agreement, the BBC’s Brussels reporter Adam Fleming said.

An EU source said the further talks are an opportunity to listen to the UK’s ideas.

Please upgrade your browser

Mrs May and Mr Juncker will meet again before the end of February, to review progress.

The prime minister is expected to put the deal to a vote in the Commons towards the end of February.

She said the plan must change if it is to win the support of MPs who urged her to seek “alternative arrangements” to the backstop when rejecting the deal last month.