TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has questioned whether the leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, “will rise to the occasion” and help solve the UK’s Brexit riddle.
Prime Minister Theresa May is meeting with the UK opposition leader today in a desperate bid to find a compromise that will see the country depart the EU in an orderly fashion.
The two politicians have been firm enemies in the House of Commons since Mrs May took over as Conservative Party leader after the Brexit referendum.
But she has risked the ire of her backbenches by inviting Mr Corbyn to last ditch talks on the impasse.
In the Dáil, Mr Varadkar described the efforts to find a compromise as “timely”.
But he added: I don’t know if Mr Corbyn will rise to the occasion and show leadership. I hope he does.”
he Taoiseach also denied that EU superpowers like France and Germany are pressuring Ireland into drawing up plans for border checks in a no-deal scenario.
He said they have “reasonable questions” about how the EU single market will be protected.
But Mr Varadkar added: “If there is no deal, they are very much seen as shared problems. It’s not a question of a big stick or us being put under undue pressure.”
Noting his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday, Mr Varadkar said he was “heartened by the enormous support France continues to demonstrate towards Ireland”.
Asked whether he believes EU members states will support an extension to the Brexit deadline of April 12, Mr Varadkar said his “general sense” was the European Council members are “open” to the idea.
But he said they “don’t want that to a licence for further indecision”.
Mr Varadkar warned there is “growing frustration” among a majority of EU countries that Brexit is taking them away from “other important matters”.
“That is worrying for us,” he said.