The Irish premier has warned Britain that it must keep some ties to the single market with Brexit in order to avoid a hard border with the Republic.
Leo Varadkar met PM Theresa May yesterday and said he would welcome any customs move which brought the UK closer to the EU.
Addressing the problem of a potential hard border would ‘require more than just customs’, the Taoiseach said.
Mrs May said Britain would have an ‘independent trade policy’ after its departure but Ireland has proposed a ‘backstop’ if no new customs arrangements are finalised before the end of the transition period, the Telegraph reports.
Leo Varadkar (right) met PM Theresa May (left) yesterday in Bulgaria and said he would welcome any customs move which brought the UK closer to the EU
The leaders appeared at ease with each other as they shared a joke on arriving for the summit
It came as Tory MPs last night warned Mrs May against shackling Britain to the customs union for an extended period after Brexit.
Whitehall officials yesterday confirmed that ministers have agreed a ‘backstop’ plan that could see the UK temporarily stick to EU tariffs.
Sources said it would only be invoked if new customs technology needed to prevent the creation of a ‘hard border’ in Ireland is not ready by the end of the Brexit transition in December 2020.
Any extension would be ‘time-limited’, they added. The move was agreed by Mrs May’s Brexit ‘war cabinet’ on Tuesday, despite reservations from Brexiteers including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.
But the move raised fears the UK could become permanently shackled to the customs union, limiting the ability to strike new trade deals.
A Whitehall source said ministers had discussed a possible extension lasting ‘months rather than years’. But officials have warned it could take as long as five years to implement a new customs plan.
Iain Duncan Smith said Eurosceptic MPs could accept a delay of ‘a month or two’ for practical reasons – but making provision for it now was akin to ‘planning for