Taoiseach hits back at 'Brexit Buffoon' commentary from 'Tory press'

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, says he does not have much respect for commentary about him in the British press.

It comes after The Sun newspaper labelled him a 'Brexit Buffoon' following his comments at an EU meeting.

The UK tabloid published the comment piece in response to Varadkar's announcement that he would block the progress of Brexit over the border issue.

The paper said: "Leo Varadkar may not like Brexit. So what? He needs to accept it’s happening.

"Yet Varadkar’s rookie diplomacy, puerile insults and threats to veto trade negotiations are bringing it ever closer."

Responding to the paper's article, Varadkar said he had read the editorial in question.

He explained: "I think it's the second or third time that the Tory press have had a go at me - which is interesting because, here in Ireland, the left and others accuse me of being a Tory.

"I guess I treat all that commentary with the respect it deserves - which isn't very much."

Mr Varadkar said the British government does not seem to have thought Brexit through.

Speaking last week, the Taoiseach said: "It’s 18 months since the referendum... it’s 10 years since people who wanted a referendum started agitating for one.

"Sometimes it doesn’t seem like they have thought all this through."

Varadkar has also been using stronger language to push for an agreement on the border issue, saying: "We've been talking 18 months, we've been given assurances now for 18 months since the referendum that there'll be no hard border in Ireland, that there won't be any physical infrastructure, that we won't go back to the borders of the past.

"We want that written down in practical terms in the conclusions of phase one."

The Taoiseach's stance has also been defended with former Downing Street press secretary Alastair Campbell saying Mr Varadkar is right to look for clarity.

Mr Campbell told Newstalk's The Pat Kenny Show: "When the Taoiseach said might it be possible that the British government have not thought this true, I simply made the point that they haven't thought about this issue at all.

"From his own national interest, given that this effects Ireland so closely... he's absolutely entitled to play hardball."

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