UK will either back deal or delay Brexit, says Varadkar

Irish premier Leo Varadkar said the UK will either delay Brexit or leave the EU with a deal at the end of March.

Amid growing pressure on Theresa May to delay Brexit with just 32 days left to go, Mr Varadkar said he is confident the UK will not crash out of the EU at the end of next month.

Speaking to reporters before a meeting with the British Prime Minister in Egypt, Mr Varadkar said a no-deal Brexit is a “lose-lose-lose” scenario for everyone.

The Taoiseach travelled to Egypt to take part in the first ever EU-Arab League summit in Sharm El-Sheikh.

“Brexit isn’t officially on the agenda, but given that there are over 20 EU heads of state and government here, there will be lots of meetings on the sideline about it,” he said.

“What’s evident to me is that absolutely no-one wants the United Kingdom to crash out of the EU without a deal.

“That gives me confidence, or at least a sense that the UK will not crash out of the EU without a deal on 29 March. We will either have a deal or have an extension.”

Addressing rumours that Mrs May will seek an extension to Article 50, Mr Varadkar said that the EU cannot consider an extension until a request is made.

He added: “From my point of view and from Ireland’s point of view, I would certainly rather see an extension than the UK leaving without a deal.

“A long extension does create a complication in terms of the European elections and so on, but that’s a small complication relative to the impact on our economy and Northern Ireland if there is a no-deal Brexit.”