Varadkar rules out Irish general election due to ongoing Brexit uncertainty

Now is not the time for a general election in the Republic of Ireland as too much uncertainty still surrounds Brexit, Leo Varadkar has said.

The Irish Premier ruled out the possibility on Wednesday after some members of his Fine Gael party suggested calling an election during the break in Brexit negotiations and because the UK is set to hold a general election on December 12.

Speaking at Government Buildings in Dublin, he said a pre-Christmas poll is not in the interests of the country.

Mr Varadkar said the Brexit process is ongoing and the UK general election could see different parties and a new prime minister holding power at Westminster.

He said: “I don’t think it is the right thing for the country given the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit.

“We don’t know what is going to happen on the 12th of December.

“Perhaps Mr Johnson is going to win a majority and ratify the deal before Christmas and we get into talks on the future relationship, but it is also possible that the Brexit Party could hold power and we may not get the deal ratified and a hard Brexit could happen.

“We could see a new government and we may get a new prime minister who wants to reopen negotiations entirely and negotiate a softer Brexit.”

Mr Varadkar previously said he favours an election in May 2020.

When asked if he would like to see Boris Johnson remain as prime minister after they had both worked to reach a Brexit deal, he said: “I’m not going to express an opinion on who should win the election in the UK; that is absolutely a matter for the people who vote in those elections.

“I really do hope that a new House of Commons is in a position to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement.

“So far, Boris Johnson is the only one who wants to ratify the agreement… It is what I want but I also respect the will of the British people, no matter who is the prime minister and what government they decide to elect.”

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