January 8, 2019 / 7:55 AM / a month ago

Irish PM says EU willing to give UK assurances over Irish Brexit backstop

Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Defence Minister Leo Varadkar attends a news conference after a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium December 14, 2018. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw/Files

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said the European Union is willing to give Britain reassurances about the Irish backstop before British lawmakers vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week, the Irish Times reported on Monday.

May pulled a parliamentary vote on her deal last month after admitting it would be rejected by lawmakers, many unhappy with the backstop - an insurance policy to avoid a hard border between the British province and EU-member Ireland.

“We don’t want to trap the UK into anything – we want to get on to the talks about the future relationship right away,” Varadkar said on a trip to Mali, the Irish Times reported. “I think it’s those kind of assurances we are happy to give.”

Reporting by Conor Humphries, writing by Michael Holden; editing by Kate Holton

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