Varadkar warns new PM over Brexit extension and Irish backstop

Leo Varadkar warned that any future prime minister that is seeking to delay Brexit beyond 31 October will face “enormous hostility” from the EU.

Irish Taoiseach said further negotiations or indicative votes will not be entertained, and no changes will be made to the withdrawal deal, despite the Tory leadership hopefuls entertaining the idea.

Arriving at the start of the European Council Summit in Brussels Varadkar that across the EU there are strong views there should be no more extensions.

He said, “While I have endless patience, some of my colleagues have lost patience, quite frankly, with the UK, and there’s enormous hostility to any further extension.

“So, I think an extension could only really happen if it were to facilitate something like a general election in the UK or perhaps even something like a second referendum, if they decided to have one.

“What won’t be entertained is an extension for further negotiations or further indicative votes. The time for that has long since passed.”

He warned, There’s no Withdrawal Agreement without a backstop and there’s no implementation period without a Withdrawal Agreement.”

Michel Barnier wrote on Twitter after meeting with Varadkar, “Two years on after the first round of #Brexit negotiations: good discussion with An Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar, @HMcEntee and their team today on Brexit.”

Earlier, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “With a hard Brexit, even with a normal Brexit, the UK will be a different country.

“It will be a diminished country. It is unavoidable.”

He said there can not be a transition period if a withdrawal agreement is not place, he told the BBC, “As Boris Johnson would say, Brexit is Brexit.

“I would say a hard Brexit is a hard Brexit. I don’t see how you can sweeten it.”

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