Irish premier backs UK request to extend Brexit deadline

Irish premier Leo Varadkar says he supports extending the UK’s Brexit deadline.

It comes after MPs at Westminster rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to fast-track Brexit legislation through Parliament.

Speaking during Taoiseach’s Questions in the Irish Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said he will support an extension to January 31.

“There is no extension agreed, the European Union has not agreed an extension for the UK as yet,” he told the Dail.

“President (Donald) Tusk is currently in the process of consulting the 27 heads of state and government.

“We spoke this morning. He is recommending that we accept an extension until January 31 that could be terminated early if the House of Commons and House of Lords ratifies an agreement.

“I agreed to that but that’s not yet agreed by the 27, and we may have to have an emergency European Council over the course of the next few days to discuss it if he can’t get consensus.

“My bags are always packed for Brussels and packed they are again.”

Mr Varadkar also praised Mr Johnson’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement as a “good agreement allowing the UK to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion”.

He added: “It also creates a unique solution for Northern Ireland, recognising the unique history and geography of Northern Ireland.

“It ensures there is no hard border between north and south, that the all-Ireland economy can continue to develop and it protects the single market and our place in it.”

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