Leo Varadkar discusses protocol with British counterparts

The Fine Gael leader travelled to London on Wednesday to hold a number of bilateral meetings while on a ‘trade mission’ to the UK.
Leo Varadkar discusses protocol with British counterparts

By Cate McCurry, PA

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has held a series of meetings with his British counterparts to discuss bilateral issues and to “deepen the relationship” between Ireland and the UK, his spokesman has said.

The Fine Gael leader travelled to London on Wednesday to hold a number of bilateral meetings while on a “trade mission” to the UK.

As part of the trip, Mr Varadkar met with the British deputy prime minister Therese Coffey, and the foreign secretary, James Cleverly.

Later on Wednesday afternoon he met with Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

“All meetings involve an exchange of views on bilateral issues and on deepening the relationship between Ireland and the UK,” the spokesman said.

Mr Cleverly tweeted: “Good to meet Leo Varadkar today and reflect on the strength of (British and Irish) relations.

“We discussed the importance of finding solutions to the Northern Ireland Protocol that protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.”

Sir Keir Starmer meeting with Tanaiste Leo Varadkar
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) meets with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in the Houses of Parliament in London, to discuss a range of topics such as Anglo-Irish relations and the trade links between the two nations (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Talks between the UK and the EU to break the impasse over the Northern Ireland Protocol is continuing.

The UK government has vowed to secure changes to the protocol, either by a negotiated compromise with the EU or through proposed domestic legislation which would empower ministers to scrap the arrangements without the approval of Brussels.

London and Brussels have given some indications of a potential deal through fresh negotiations.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said on Wednesday that negotiations were continuing in a “positive light” but an imminent breakthrough was unlikely given the domestic difficulties facing the UK government at Westminster.

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