Varadkar told Irish broadcaster RTE on Wednesday that Johnson’s proposal to leave the EU before the October 31 deadline with a “new” and “better” deal could never happen.
“Listening to what [Johnson] said today, I got the impression that he wasn’t just talking about deleting the [Northern Ireland] backstop, he was talking about a whole new deal – a better deal for Britain,” Varadkar said after Johnson’s debut speech as PM, adding, “that is not going to happen.”
Any suggestion that there can be a whole new deal negotiated in weeks or months is totally not in the real world.
The impact on Irish trade and tourism could be significant should Britain fail to secure a deal prior to its exit from the European Union, forcing the country to adopt a “hard border” between the Irish Republic and UK-governed Northern Ireland and impose a number of customs and immigrations checks. EU negotiators have proposed a plan dubbed the “Irish backstop,” which would avoid the border complications by leaving the North as a partial member of the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market; however, it is unclear if the backstop would feature in Johnson’s “new deal” in any form. On the contrary, the new UK PM on Wednesday quipped: “Never mind backstop, the buck stops here.”
Johnson also drew some heat on Wednesday afternoon for his home secretary pick, Conservative MP Priti Patel. Last year Patel kicked off a scandal for suggesting that Irish food shortages be used as a bargaining chip in Brexit talks with the EU, though she insists her comment was taken out of context.
Patel also resigned her position as secretary of state for international development in 2017 after it was revealed that she held secret meetings with Israeli officials and kept them from the Foreign Office, which was overseen by Johnson at the time.
Patel told Sky News on Wednesday that it was a “great honor” to be appointed to the home secretary position.
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