British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, pictured here in Dublin last year, resigned his post Monday. RollingNews.ie.
By Anthony Neeson
While Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was in Ireland for talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar – and to visit the border – high profile resignations were taking place in London after the latest Brexit fall-out.
British Prime Minister Theresa May held a Cabinet meeting at her country retreat, Chequers, on Friday where she briefed colleagues on the UK’s negotiating stance on its future relationship with the EU.
With the Cabinet deeply divided, it didn’t take long for the first casualty with Brexit Minister David Davis leaving the government by Sunday evening.
He said he no longer believed in the plan which won Cabinet backing.
Then today, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also resigned.
It’s believed that other Cabinet resignations will now follow throwing the British Brexit negotiations into disarray.
Speaking after the Chequers meeting, Taoiseach Varadkar said time was running out and it was now approaching “crunch time” in the negotiation process.
“Time is running short and we are approaching crunch time in negotiations and we continue to have some concerns about the workability of the UK’s customs proposals,” he said.
“We look forward to seeing the White Paper later in the week so that we know more detail.”
Austrian Chancellor Kurz said he supported the Irish position and added that it was positive that there was now a Brexit position from the UK.
Austria holds the presidency of the European Union over the next six months, a period which will coincide with the final Brexit negotiations between the EU and UK.
Fianna Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson, Lisa Chambers, said she would await the full publication of the British white paper.
“I remain cautiously optimistic that this statement from Prime Minister May represents genuine progress on the ongoing Brexit negotiations and that this latest proposal adequately addresses Ireland’s concerns, in particular the border issue.
“While I appreciate that this is a difficult matter for the Conservative Party, time is fast running out and Britain must deliver on its commitment to a legally binding backstop.”
However, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said she was concerned that after two years since Britain first voted to leave the European Union “the British government appears to have agreed a three page document.”
“The ‘backstop’ or Irish protocol agreed last December is the bottom line for Ireland,” she said.
“The British government cannot negotiate downwards from that position. The delaying tactic of the British must end and a viable, legally certain answer to the Irish question given.”