Boris Johnson will 'make concessions' to get Brexit deal, claims Leo Varadkar

Irish politician Leo Varadkar (R) meeting with prime minister Boris Johnson

Irish politician Leo Varadkar (R) meeting with prime minister Boris Johnson - Credit: PA

Ireland’s deputy leader said he believes Boris Johnson would be willing to make concessions to get a post-Brexit trade deal, claiming his politics is closer to the "liberal" view he took as mayor of London.

Leo Varadkar said the European Union and the UK have “more to gain and more to salvage” from an agreement than they have to lose.

The Fine Gael leader said that any breakthrough in the talks will take “some politics” and will need both sides to “move a little bit”.

Varadkar said Johnson’s natural instincts are closer to the “liberal” London mayor than the more “conservative” Brexiteer.

“For us to have access to our single market and for us to have free trade with the UK, we need to know that the UK isn’t going to undercut us on standards, whether it’s workers’ rights or health and safety, the environment, product standards, all of those things,” Varadkar told RTE Morning Ireland.

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“Is Boris Johnson willing to make concessions in those areas? I think he probably is.

“If I know him, and I don’t know him that well, but I know him a bit, I think his natural instincts are much closer to the more liberal London mayor that he was than the more conservative Brexiteer.

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“I think he wants Britain to be part of the world, and I think he wants Britain to be seen as a country that is a first actor, one with high standards. However, he will be very strong on the sovereignty point and I think any set of common minimum standards, any set of level playing field rules, would have to be one that the UK feels are imposed on them.

“That will be a circle that is going to be hard to square.”

He continued: “Ultimately, I believe that both sides have more to gain and certainly more to salvage from an agreement over the next few days than we have to lose.

“Ultimately, it takes some politics at the end and both sides to move a little bit in the end but I think (on) both sides that is possible.”

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