Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson have had their first phone call 11 months ago

Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson have had their first phone call

And it only took a week.

On Tuesday afternoon, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had his first phone call with Boris Johnson since the Tory leader became Prime Minister.

Such a delay in communication is utterly unprecedented in the modern era, and is evidence of the fraying relationship between Ireland and the UK.

Johnson has been exposed for saying "Why isn't he called Murphy like the rest of them?" about his Irish opposite number.

Similarly, he has been more resolute about the possibility of no-deal than Theresa May, and insistent that the backstop must be removed.

This position is irreconcilable with the EU/Irish position that a backstop is essential for avoiding a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and the north.

Today, the pair exchanged words for the first time as respective heads of government.

The Irish government's summary of the call states that Varadkar told Johnson that "the backstop was necessary as a consequence of decisions taken in the UK and by the UK government."

The Taoiseach also reaffirmed the EU position that the negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement could not be reopened. Varadkar also noted that alternatives to the backstop had not been presented by the United Kingdom.

Johnson has also been invited to Ireland to "share analyses" on Brexit, the protection of the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area.