PM call with Taoiseach Varadkar of Ireland 19 August 2019

Charm offensive Boris Johnson talks to patient Scarlett Gibbons during a visit to the Royal Cornwall Hospital ahead of his call with Leo Varadkar

Charm offensive Boris Johnson talks to patient Scarlett Gibbons during a visit to the Royal Cornwall Hospital ahead of his call with Leo Varadkar

Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar spoke by phone for nearly an hour this evening.

Johnson insisted in the talk that the backstop must be removed from the Withdrawal Agreement while Varadkar reiterated that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened, according to the statement.

In response, the Taoiseach reiterated the EU27 position that the Withdrawal Agreement can not be reopened.

Both prime ministers condemned Monday's bomb in County Fermanagh.

The phone call comes a day after a government dossier warning of the impact of a no-deal Brexit was leaked.

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Media captionConfused by Brexit jargon?

Since taking office last month, Johnson has said he wants to agree a deal with the European Union but only if it drops the so-called Irish backstop, an insurance policy in the deal negotiated by his predecessor, Theresa May, aimed at avoiding a hard border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

Mr Johnson said the backstop would need to be removed and that an alternative solution is required.

It would also involve a temporary single customs territory, effectively keeping the whole of the United Kingdom in the EU customs union.

During the phone talk, Johnson and Varadkar also discussed other issues relating to Brexit and Northern Ireland, and they both agreed to meet for further discussions in Dublin in early September, said the statement.

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