Irish prime minister says big gaps remain in Brexit talks

  • Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar grimaces during a press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in Stockholm, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. (Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via AP)

    Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar grimaces during a press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in Stockholm, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. (Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via AP) Associated Press

  • Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, gestures as he stands with the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, ahead of a private meeting in Downing Street, Tuesday Oct. 8, 2019. (Aaron Chown/Pool via AP)

    Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, gestures as he stands with the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, ahead of a private meeting in Downing Street, Tuesday Oct. 8, 2019. (Aaron Chown/Pool via AP) Associated Press

 
 
Posted10/9/2019 7:00 AM

LONDON -- Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that big gaps remain between Britain and the European Union as they try to secure a Brexit deal by next week.

Varadkar said Ireland can't accept a deal at any cost as Britain seeks to renegotiate plans intended to ensure there is no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland. Both sides are seeking to reach an agreement before an EU summit next week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I think it's going to be very difficult to secure an agreement by next week, quite frankly," Varadkar told Irish broadcaster RTE late Tuesday after a 40-minute phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"Essentially what the United Kingdom has done is repudiate the deal that we negotiated in good faith with Prime Minister (Theresa) May's government over two years and have sort of put half of that now back on the table and are saying, 'That's a concession'. And, of course, it isn't really."

The comments contradicted Johnson's office, which said Tuesday that EU intransigence had led to a breakdown in negotiations.

The U.K. said, however, that it still hopes to strike a deal. Johnson and Varadkar are expected to meet in person later this week.

Johnson says Britain will leave without a negotiated settlement if a deal can't be reached by the Brexit deadline of Oct. 31. The Times of London reported Wednesday that five Cabinet ministers are threatening to resign if the Conservative government adopts a no-deal Brexit as its central policy.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

___

Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

___

This story has been corrected to show that the Irish prime minister's last name is Varadkar, not Varadkhar.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.