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Taoiseach says it's time to 'cut the British government some slack'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said it is time to cut the British Government some slack in order to allow them to avoid a crash out Brexit.

Speaking in Dublin, Mr Varadkar said when he arrives in Brussels tomorrow for the EU summit, he will be arguing British Prime Minister Theresa May be given some space to seek to get approval for her deal.

He said Mrs May will address the country this evening.

Speaking at Dublin's Government Buildings he said: "I understand that she's going to speak to the country tonight and there's an emergency debate in parliament tonight as well.

"That will be an opportunity for her to set out her plan, her timeline, as to how an extension would work.

"We always said we'd be open to an extension if there was a purpose to it and I think it's important that we hear from her first and we'll respond as 27, as the European Union, in the next couple of days."

Asked whether he believed that the French president will veto an extension, MrVaradkar said: "No. It is my understanding, and people will know this from his public comments, that he is sceptical about an extension.

"A lot of people in the European Union want this resolved. It's been going on for over two years now. There's a lot of frustration across the European Union."

Mr Varadkar said it is time to cut the UK Government some slack.

"There is a real risk that we wish to avoid of a no-deal happening by accident despite people's best intentions," he said.

It's time now to cut them some slack, to cut the British government some slack, when it comes to their request for an extension and when it comes to their request that the Strasbourg Agreement be ratified formally by the European Council over the next two days.

He added that the Irish Government was willing to support both of those requests but that it was "not entertaining any change to the Withdrawal Agreement or the backstop".