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Ireland Varadkar says Johnson told him he's confident of getting MPs to back Brexit deal

19:50  15 october  2019
19:50  15 october  2019 Source:   thejournal.ie

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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives for a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at Downing Street in London, Britain October 15, 2019.  REUTERS/Henry Nicholls © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives for a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at Downing Street in London, Britain October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told him he is confident of getting MPs to back a new Brexit deal.

The admission comes amid mounting speculation that a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations is imminent.

Boris Johnson, Leo Varadkar are posing for a picture: Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar pictured in Cheshire last week. © Taoiseach's Office Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar pictured in Cheshire last week. Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Varadkar said: “Initial indications are that we’re making progress, that the negotiations are moving in the right direction, but whether we’ll be able to conclude the revised Withdrawal Agreement … in time for the (EU) summit on Thursday that’s, as of now, unclear.”

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Varadkar stated that when he met Johnson last week, the prime minister said if the UK and EU could come to an agreement “he was confident that he would be able to get it through the House of Commons”.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney speaks as he leaves the General Affairs council addressing the state of play of Brexit, in Luxembourg October 15, 2019.  REUTERS/Francois Lenoir © Catalyst Images Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney speaks as he leaves the General Affairs council addressing the state of play of Brexit, in Luxembourg October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir However, the Taoiseach added: “But of course there are a few hurdles between now and then.”

Varadkar said it’s too early to predict if Britain will seek another extension to leaving the European Union.

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A man takes a photograph of a mural depicting Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the side of a residential building in London, Britain, October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay © Catalyst Images A man takes a photograph of a mural depicting Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the side of a residential building in London, Britain, October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay We’re just going to have to see how the next few days develop. If we can get to an agreement on Thursday or Friday, and if the House of Commons is able to vote in favour of that agreement on Saturday, it may not be necessary to even consider an extension, but it’s too early to make that assessment at this stage.

Downing Street has said negotiations remain ongoing amid reports Johnson is closing in on a new deal after giving significant ground to the EU over the Irish border.

EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier arrives to take part in General Affairs council addressing the state of play of Brexit, in Luxembourg October 15, 2019.  REUTERS/Francois Lenoir © Catalyst Images EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier arrives to take part in General Affairs council addressing the state of play of Brexit, in Luxembourg October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir The Guardian has reported senior sources on both sides of the Channel saying that a draft treaty could be published tomorrow morning after the UK agreed in principle there will be a customs border in the Irish Sea.

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However, Johnson’s official spokesman said: “Talks remain constructive but there is more work still to do.”

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson steps out to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (not pictured) at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain October 15, 2019. Bradley Page/Pool via REUTERS © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson steps out to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (not pictured) at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain October 15, 2019. Bradley Page/Pool via REUTERS Downing Street sources were also downplaying the chances of a breakthrough being imminent, and an EU official also stressed that “talks are ongoing”.

Contains reporting from PA 

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