Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2019

General Election: Varadkar and Johnson pledge to help restore Stormont power-sharing

Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar have committed to staying in
Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar have committed to staying in "close contact" as Brexit negotiations continue (PA)

By Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister Boris John have pledged to work with Northern Ireland's political parties to restore power-sharing at Stormont.

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Both leaders also committed to staying in "close contact" as Brexit negotiations move into the next stage and discussed the bilateral relationship between the Republic of Ireland and the UK in the aftermath of Mr Johnson’s landslide General Election victory.

In a statement, the Taoiseach’s Office said: “They agreed there is now a significant opportunity to restore the Good Friday Agreement institutions, and pledged to work with the Northern Ireland parties to achieve this.”

“They also discussed how to both looked forward to the smooth passage of the Withdrawal Agreement. They agreed to stay in close contact in the period ahead,” the statement added.

Mr Varadkar also sent Mr Johnson a congratulatory text message when his election success was confirmed on Friday morning.

The Prime Minister’s Conservative Party won 365 seats in the House of Commons giving him a clear majority to pass the Brexit deal he agreed with Mr Varadkar and the European Union.

The Labour Party won just 203 seats which resulted in Jeremy Corbyn announcing he would not lead the party into the next General Election.

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Earlier today, Johnson pledged to heal the divisions of Brexit, as he returned to Downing Street after securing a crushing General Election victory over Labour.

Speaking on the steps of No 10 after a string of Labour strongholds fell to the Tories, the Prime Minister said he had an "overwhelming mandate" to take Britain out of the EU by the end of January.

But at the same time he sought to reach out to Remainers, insisting his "One Nation" government would never ignore their feelings of "warmth and sympathy" towards the other nations of Europe.

"Now is the moment, precisely as we leave the EU, to let those natural feelings find renewed expression in building a new partnership," he said.

"I frankly urge everyone on either side of what are, after three and a half years, increasingly arid argument, I urge everyone to find closure and to let the healing begin."

On a disastrous night for the opposition, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn signalled he will be standing down following his party’s greatest defeat since 1935.

Lib Dems leader Jo Swinson was among the biggest casualties on the night as she lost her seat.

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU in 49 days.

The overwhelming result puts an end to any talk of Brexit being reversed in a second referendum.

Mr Johnson was elected at 3:40am in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.

He said the "historic election" result had "given a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done".

In a statement this morning, Tanaiste Simon Coveney congratulated Mr Johnson on his victory.

"The Irish government and my department now stand ready to seize the momentum and focus on getting Stormont up and running for all the people and parties in Northern Ireland," he said.

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