Europe

Varadkar will 'work with whoever is PM'

Leo Varadkar and Theresa May

The Irish prime minister has said he believes Theresa May can deliver on Brexit, adding that British-Irish working relations are not dependent on Mrs May alone.

It follows newspaper reports that British cabinet members are plotting to oust Mrs May as prime minister.

Senior ministers have dismissed all such suggestions.

Speaking to Irish National Broadcaster RTÉ, Leo Varadkar said he would work with "whoever the prime minister is".

Theresa May has come under growing pressure to quit following a week in which she was forced to ask the European Union for an extension to Article 50 and criticised for blaming the delay to Brexit on MPs.

The withdrawal agreement she negotiated with the EU has been rejected twice in the House of Commons.

'Good links'

On Friday, the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) warned that Brexit could be delayed if British MPs decide they want the government to radically change its policy.

However on Sunday, he said he believes that Theresa May can deliver Brexit by 12 April.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Theresa May has faced growing criticism in recent weeks

Mr Varadkar outlined that since the Brexit referendum, his government had working relations with their British counterparts at all levels - not just prime ministerial.

"We've made sure over the last two years we have very good links not just at prime minister-level and taoiseach-level, but also between Phillip Hammond and Pascal Donohoe, between Simon Coveney and David Lidington and so on," he said.

"Whoever is prime minister we will work with them.

"It didn't have to be this bad, I think what's happened is the UK is now consumed with Brexit."

He added: "Even after they leave, assuming they leave with a Withdrawal Agreement, they will spend two or three years consumed about what the future relationship is going to be like.

"It's important that we make sure we're not consumed by Brexit and we're not defined by it.

"So my job as taoiseach is to ensure we limit any damage to Ireland as a consequence of Brexit."

More on this story