EU leaders reluctant to extend Brexit deadline

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The Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has said on Monday that EU leaders are reluctant to consider yet another Brexit extension come October 31.

“I certainly wouldn’t rule it out and from Ireland’s point of view, we would be as facilitative to the UK as is possible but I think a lot of other countries have become very frustrated at these rolling extensions,” Varadkar told the public broadcaster RTE on Monday.

Varadkar did not exclude an extension in the context of a general election in the UK but made clear there would be no renegotiation of the Brexit deal or room for indicative votes in the UK parliament.

The Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney, confirmed on Monday that the chances of a disorderly Brexit “have never been higher.”

With just 114 days to go until Brexit, Ireland is preparing for a no-deal Brexit.

Meanwhile, the former head of the Brexit civil service department in the UK, Philip Rycroft, warned on Monday that no-deal carried a number of risks for Northern Ireland, not least the possibility that paramilitary groups would find new recruits. These concerns have been echoed by Northern Ireland police.

Sinn Fein has warned that a hard border in Northern Ireland would require a referendum on Irish unification.

Rycroft told the BBC that the civil service was responding to no-deal preparations “brilliantly well,” but noted that “… everybody should be worried about what happens in a no-deal situation.”

Meanwhile, Conservative MP and ex-minister Sam Gyimah made clear on Monday that there are “30 plus” in the ruling party’s parliamentary group that would vote to block a no-deal Brexit. The prospect of Brexit “come what may,” even at the event of “no-deal,” has been endorsed both by Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson in the countdown for the vote that will determine who will succeed Theresa May in office.


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