Belfast Telegraph

Dominic Raab accuses Leo Varadkar of leaking private Brexit conversation

The former Brexit Secretary says his comments to Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney were misrepresented by ‘the Taoiseach directly’.

Dominic Raab (PA)
Dominic Raab (PA)

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has accused Leo Varadkar of leaking details of a confidential meeting he held with an Irish minister.

Mr Raab also accused the Taoiseach of giving out “inaccurate” information about his Brexit proposals following his meeting with Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney last October.

The Telegraph and Financial Times reported Mr Raab had insisted Britain has the right to pull out of the Irish backstop after three months.

Speaking to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Mr Raab said this information was leaked by “the Taoiseach directly”.

A spokesman for Irish government denied the allegation, saying: “There is no basis to this allegation. Mr Raab should produce evidence to support it if he has any.”

Mr Raab said on Wednesday: “The conversation I had with him (Mr Coveney) was leaked to the media in terms which were not factually accurate, in terms of the proposal that I had put forward, privately and confidentially at his request.

“It was leaked in an inaccurate and misrepresenting way by the Taoiseach directly.”

I don't the know the conversation Simon Coveney had with the Taoiseach and I don't understand what motivation may or may not have been Dominic Raab

St Helens North Labour MP Conor McGinn said it was a “very serious accusation” to make against the Irish government.

Mr Raab added: “Everyone in the UK Government knows the approach that I have been suggesting in relation to the Brexit mechanism, knows that’s not what I have argued for within the UK Government let alone to my Irish friends.”

He described his meeting with Mr Coveney as “very constructive”.

Mr Raab added: “We both wanted to make this work, I found him a great interlocutor and I urged him not to rule out looking at some of the other opportunities and mechanisms in dealing with the exit from the backstop and we agreed, at his request, to keep the meeting confidential.

“Check the media, I did not comment on it, it was only commented on not by Simon Coveney but by the Taoiseach, so ask the question of whether the account of what I was proposing was what the Taoiseach leaked to the media or presented to the media.

“I don’t the know the conversation Simon Coveney had with the Taoiseach and I don’t understand what motivation may or may not have been.

“All I’m telling you is that is simply not what I discussed or what I was proposing and I have kept it confidential.”

PA

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