Ireland to work with 'whoever leads Britain' as pressure mounts on Johnson – Tánaiste

Speaking as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw a flood of resignations from his government on Wednesday, Varadkar made clear Ireland will work with whoever is occupying Number 10 Downing Street.
Ireland to work with 'whoever leads Britain' as pressure mounts on Johnson – Tánaiste

Kenneth Fox

The government will work with whoever the British Prime Minister is and whatever parties are in power, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said.

Speaking as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw a flood of resignations from his government on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar made clear Ireland will work with whoever is occupying Number 10 Downing Street.

As the Irish Examiner reports, he said: "We are not going to comment on the internal affairs within other political parties or other countries," he said in relation to political developments in the UK.

He said that while Britain's exit from the EU is a matter of deep regret, it remains an important economic partner and a very important security partner.

Regarding the 70 per cent of gas supplies to Ireland that comes through the UK, Mr Varadkar said he has not had any conversation with the British government about the potential threat to supplies as it is more in the remit of Ministers Eamon Ryan and Simon Coveney.

"I think it is worth noting though that the gas pipeline that goes from Britain to Ireland also serves Northern Ireland," he said.

Mr Varadkar said that while there is no suggestion that they would reduce supply, if the UK were to make cuts to Ireland, they would also have to reduce it to Northern Ireland.

He added that if Russian gas was cut off to continental Europe, it would have an effect on Ireland.

"We have plans about what we would do in that scenario. It is not a scenario we want to be in, but we have an emergency plan about what we would do in terms of which areas would be prioritised for energy and gas, and so on," he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne said it appeared Mr Johnson’s days are numbered.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Mr Byrne said the events of the last day or two would suggest that there will be a different administration in Britain to deal with regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol.

He said this does mean there will not be difficulties, but he cannot see another prime minister continuing to break international law.

"I just think it's a crazy policy that is really doing Britain tremendous damage around the world, and this is adding to it today," he said.

Speaking at an IBEC business event in Dublin, British Ambassador Paul Johnston said the EU’s refusal to re-open the impasse is the reason why negotiations have stalled.

He said it's also important to say that in terms of the movement of goods, there is a real challenge that is having an impact on the politics in Northern Ireland."

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