June 9, 2017 / 11:10 AM / 2 months ago

Irish PM designate says UK election means rejection of hard Brexit

Leo Varadkar makes his acceptance speech at the count centre as he wins the Fine Gael parliamentary elections to replace Prime Minister of Ireland (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny as leader of the party in Dublin, Ireland June 2, 2017.Clodagh Kilcoyne/Files

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The inconclusive outcome of Britain's election amounts to a rejection of a 'hard Brexit' and provides an opportunity for Ireland, Irish Prime Minister-designate Leo Varadkar said on Friday.

Varadkar, the new leader of the governing Fine Gael who is set to succeed Enda Kenny as premier next week after a parliamentary vote, said he would play his part in ensuring Britian's exit talks with the European Union are handled in a smooth and coherent manner.

"The results of the UK election indicate to me that there is no strong mandate to proceed with a hard Brexit, which represents an opportunity for Ireland," Varadkar said in a statement after British Prime Minister Theresa May lost her majority in Thursday's parliamentary election.

The Brexit negotiations are due to begin this month.

Reporting by Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin; Editing by Gareth Jones

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