Belfast Telegraph

Brexit backstop doubts and fears can be put to bed, says Taoiseach Varadkar on May's deal

Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Taoiseach Leo Varadakar described the latest agreement between the UK and the EU as "positive" saying he hopes doubts and fears over the backstop "can be put to bed" and the House of Commons will endorse the deal in the meaningful vote on Tuesday night.

He said the new documents, published on Monday, are "complementary" to the withdrawal agreement providing "reassurance and clarification" but did not undermine the original deal.

Mr Varadkar said the Brexit process had been "dark cloud over us for many months and a positive vote can restore confidence".

He said there could be no further delay in the ratification process.

Last night the UK Government said it had secured key changes to the withdrawal agreement after Theresa May made a last-minute dash to Strasbourg for talks on the eve of a crucial vote in the House of Commons.

It remains to be seen if the concessions will be enough to see it pass through Parliament - where DUP votes could prove decisive.

In a press conference on Tuesday morning Leo Varadkar said the backstop would continue to apply "unless and until" it was replaced by future arrangements that ensured there was no hard border.

He said the latest documents put the EU assurances the backstop, if activated would be temporary.

He said the withdrawal agreement represents a "fair compromise".

Mr Varadkar said: "The further agreement yesterday provided additional clarity, reassurance and guarantees sought by some to eliminate doubt or fears, however unreal, that the goal was to trap the UK indefinitely in the backstop.

"It is not, these doubts and fears can be put to bed."

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