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Outside MAN

Leo Varadkar to meet Boris Johnson next week as British PM loses working majority in Commons

Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson don’t have much in common – let alone their Brexit policies
Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson don’t have much in common – let alone their Brexit policies
Kevin Doyle

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin next Monday, Independent.ie understands.

Sources in Dublin said they are “very happy” that Mr Johnson has finally taken up an invitation issued by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

The Prime Minister confirmed his intention to discuss Brexit with face-to-face with the Taoiseach during a rowdy debate in the House of Commons.

The news comes as Mr Johnson faces a revolt from Tory members ahead of a Commons battle over his Brexit plans.

In a moment of high-drama in the Commons this afternoon, former Conservative MP Phillip Lee quit the party to join the Liberal Democrats, crossing the floor while Prime Minister Boris Johnson was delivering a statement on the recent G7 summit.

It means the British government has now lost its working majority in the Commons.

Former UK chancellor Philip Hammond has also confirmed that he will vote for legislation designed to block a no-deal Brexit.

However, Mr Johnson has said he would obey the law, when asked by a lawmaker if his government would abide by legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit.

Lawmakers are planning to seize control of parliamentary time on Wednesday to pass a law forcing Johnson to seek a delay to Brexit, but at the weekend one of his senior ministers said that the government would only “look at” such legislation.

Asked by an opposition Labour lawmaker whether the government would abide by the rule of law if a bill passes which makes it illegal to leave without a deal, Johnson told parliament: “We will of course uphold the constitution and obey the law.”

Yesterday the British PM signalled he will seek a snap election if rebel Tories and opposition MPs back measures to delay Brexit.

Meanwhile, the UK Government appears to have been considering suspending Parliament as early as mid-August, documents submitted to a Scottish court suggest.

The details emerged as a legal action aimed at halting the suspension of Parliament got under way at the Court of Session – Scotland’s highest civil court.

A note dated August 15 from Nickki da Costa, a former director of legislative affairs at Number 10 and seen by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his adviser Dominic Cummings, asked whether an approach should be made to prorogue Parliament.

The dates suggested were between September 9 and October 14.

A note of “yes” was written on the document, the Court of Session in Edinburgh heard, although the author of the annotation was not disclosed in court.

Additional reporting from PA and Reuters.

Read more here: US Vice President Mike Pence urges Ireland and EU to negotiate Brexit ‘in good faith’ with Boris Johnson

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