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Irish PM says he has escalated no-deal Brexit preparations

Irish PM says he has escalated no-deal Brexit preparations

The Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has said his country is preparing for a no-deal Brexit as seriously as it is for Theresa May’s deal and warned that the EU’s existing offer must not change.

In remarks that echoed EU comments earlier on Thursday rebuffing British hopes of further talks, Varadkar said European leaders were united behind the existing deal and that he and Angela Merkel had held a 40-minute call at her request.

“We’re happy to offer reassurances and guarantees to the UK, but not reassurances and guarantees that contradict or change what was agreed back in November,” he said.

The taoiseach said he had “given up speculating” on whether Britain would leave the EU without a deal but that Ireland’s contingency planning for a no-deal outcome would continue.

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