No-deal Brexit not ideal, says Irish PM Leo Varadkar

London: A no-deal Brexit could lead to a united Ireland as more people in Northern Ireland would “come to question the union” with Britain, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said. His comments came after new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the current Brexit deal was unacceptable and set preparations for leaving the EU without an agreement as a “top priority” for his right-wing government.

Tension around the withdrawal deal centres on the so-called Irish backstop — a mechanism designed to preserve the bloc’s single market and prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

Varadkar warned a no-deal Brexit could see more people in the North question the union with England, Scotland and Wales.

“People who you might describe as moderate nationalists or moderate Catholics who were more or less happy with the status quo will look more towards a united Ireland,” Varadkar said Friday at a summer school in county Donegal, the Irish Independent newspaper and other media reported.

“And increasingly you see liberal Protestants, liberal unionists starting to ask the questions as to where they feel more at home.

“Is it in a nationalist Britain that’s talking about potentially bringing back the death penalty and things like that? Or is it part of a common European home and part of Ireland?” said Vardakar, whose heavily trade-dependent nation stands to lose most from a messy EU-UK split.