It's Opposition for Opposition's Sake 'There Has Been a Change in Tone' Leo Hits Back at FF Criticism of His Handling of Brexit

Daily Mail (London), March 24, 2018 | Go to article overview

It's Opposition for Opposition's Sake 'There Has Been a Change in Tone' Leo Hits Back at FF Criticism of His Handling of Brexit


Byline: James Ward Political Correspondent

LEO Varadkar has slammed Fianna Fail's criticism of the Brexit negotiations as 'opposition for opposition's sake'. He said the party has dropped its constructive position and is now attacking him for the sake of it.

Fianna Fail's Brexit spokesman, Stephen Donnelly, was rebuked by the Tanaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney in the Dail during the week when he questioned the UK's commitment to the 'backstop' deal.

Mr Coveney said Mr Donnelly should 'inform' himself on 'what is progress and what is not', during testy exchanges that appeared to sour the previous position of cross-party support on Brexit issues.

Asked if he regretted this development, Mr Varadkar said he didn't expect complete support on any issue, but said there was little substance to Fianna Fail's criticism.

'I'm not going to get upset if they don't offer unconditional support. I don't expect unconditional support from opposition parties,' he said in Brussels.

'I think it's fair to say there has been a change in tone and temperature in recent months coming from the opposition.

'Particularly the main opposition party has moved from more constructive opposition some months ago to opposing the Government about everything, opposition for opposition's sake. I think that probably reflects the political cycle rather than anything to do with the substance of policy.'

Mr Donnelly had blasted the UK's latest reaffirmation of the backstop earlier this week as a fudge, and on Thursday said the Government's decision to set an October deadline for a final wording of the backstop agreement had handed the British an advantage and increased the risk of a hard border.

A Fianna Fail source last night said the party position had changed because the Government position had also changed.

'In December we were sold the backstop agreement as a castiron guarantee, now they're telling us it won't even be confirmed until the last moment in October. It should be no surprise they're coming in for criticism like this,' the source said. …

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