Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson signal “a pathway to a possible deal” following face-to-face Brexit talks 10 months ago

Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson signal “a pathway to a possible deal” following face-to-face Brexit talks

The Taoiseach and UK Prime Minister met at a hotel in Cheshire on Thursday.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson say they can see “a pathway to a possible deal” on Brexit following negotiations on Thursday.

A joint statement issued following their meeting at Thornton Manor Hotel on the Wirral in Cheshire read: “The Taoiseach and Prime Minister have had a detailed and constructive discussion.

“Both continue to believe that a deal is in everybody’s interest. They agreed that they could see a pathway to a possible deal.

“Their discussions concentrated on the challenges of customs and consent.

“They also discussed the potential to strengthen bilateral relations, including on Northern Ireland.

“They agreed to reflect further on their discussions and that officials would continue to engage intensively on them.

“Following their discussions, the Taoiseach will consult with the EU Task Force and the UK Brexit Secretary will meet Michel Barnier tomorrow morning.”

Earlier in the day, Varadkar had posted a number of photos from the meeting with Johnson, which took place three weeks to the day from the UK’s scheduled exit from the European Union.

The meeting came after the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier poured cold water on the UK’s latest Brexit proposals on Wednesday, highlighting several key issues where no solutions have been offered.

Speaking in the European Parliament on Wednesday, Barnier identified three issues where the UK's plan falls short, beginning with the approach towards checks on goods in Ireland.

As it stands, the UK is advancing a plan that will see checks spread out across the island on either side of the border "based on exemptions and tech yet to be developed".

Barnier maintained that a deal was still a possibility but said that “the EU cannot accept the UK’s proposal, as it is today".

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "I don’t accept this blame game that started in London. Personally, I don’t exclude the deal. We are working on the deal. And we are not accepting this blame game which started in London. We are not to be blamed."

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 31 October, though the UK's Benn Act may force Boris Johnson to seek an extension from the EU should no deal be struck before then.

Main image via Twitter/Leo Varadkar