Varadkar and Tusk talk Brexit, amidst Westminster turmoil

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will meet European Council President Donald Tusk in Dublin today (Tuesday, March 19) to discuss the latest developments around Brexit.

The meeting comes after a decision yesterday (Monday, March 18) by John Bercow, the UK House of Commons speaker (the equivalent of the Dail’s Ceann Comhairle), who ruled that the withdrawal agreement cannot be voted on again unless it is “substantially different”.

The withdrawal agreement has already been voted on twice: Once in January and again on March 12; on both occasions, it was defeated by a wide margin.

It now seems likely that the UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, will seek an extension on the Brexit “deadline day” – originally set for March 29 – to allow for a possible renegotiation of the agreement.

However, the UK would need the support of the other EU member states to get an extension.

On Thursday, March 14, the House of Commons voted to seek an extension to the deadline, pushing it out to June 30 if it managed to pass the withdrawal agreement by March 20.

The decision by Bercow now means that this will almost certainly not happen, meaning the UK will likely seek a longer extension.

But for this to be granted, the country will need to provide the EU with “clear reasons” as to why an extension is needed.

The House of Commons has already passed a resolution to work to avoid a “no-deal” Brexit, following a vote on Wednesday, March 13.

Politicians voted 321 votes to 278 in favour of ruling out a no-deal Brexit; after the vote, May argued that the only way to ensure that “no-deal” was off the table was to agree a deal before the country officially leaves the EU.

This morning, May is chairing a meeting with her cabinet to discuss possible ways forward.

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