PM expected to meet Leo Varadkar next week

Prime Minister Boris Johnson may meet his Irish counterpart next week.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he will listen to alternatives to the Irish border backstop as he disclosed details of the proposed encounter during an event on Monday.

The future of the frontier is expected to be high on the agenda during their discussions.

Officials are working on two possible dates.

Mr Varadkar said: “Of course, I would listen to any proposals that the British Prime Minister may have to achieve that by an alternative means and we provide for alternative arrangements in the joint political declaration.

“The difficulty is that anything we have seen so far, when it comes to alternative arrangements, do something very different.

“They just manage a border, they facilitate tariffs, they facilitate checks, they facilitate controls but try to do it in a way that is invisible and unobtrusive, and that is better than nothing but it is not the outcome that we want to achieve.”

Mr Johnson has said he wants to scrap the backstop.

Mr Varadkar has been staunch in his defence of the proposal, which was part of a draft agreement between Theresa May’s administration and the EU.

The Taoiseach told RTE: “I am always willing to listen to any proposal that a British Prime Minister has.

“The backstop is a means to an end.

“It is there to ensure that we continue to have frictionless trade north and south, that there is no physical infrastructure, no checks, no controls, no tariffs.

“We want that to continue to be the case. It has been the case since 1992, we want that to continue.”

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