- Boris Johnson’s former chief advisor claimed their plan was always to “ditch bits” of the Brexit treaty.
- Leo Varadkar, the former Irish PM, says this suggests the UK government negotiated in bad faith.
- Varadkar warned the world from making deals with a government that doesn’t “honour its agreements.”
Leo Varadkar, the former Irish prime minister, has warned world leaders against signing deals with Boris Johnson’s government as the UK seeks to negotiate new trade agreements after Brexit.
Varadkar’s warnings followed claims made by Dominic Cummings, the former chief advisor to Johnson, that the UK planned to “ditch bits” of the Brexit treaty after winning the 2019 general election.
Varadkar, who negotiated the Northern Ireland backstop with Johnson in October 2019 as taoiseach, is now Ireland’s deputy prime minister.
In a series of tweets Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, Cummings claimed that:
- Johnson did not understand the customs union until November 2020, the tariff-free zone between European Union states.
- That his plan was to get Johnson to “ditch bits” of the Brexit treaty after defeating the Labour Party, then led by Jeremy Corbyn, in the 2019 general election.
- That the UK should bring in further legislation to “tidy things up,” especially around Northern Ireland.
Varadkar told RTE, the Irish broadcaster, that Cummings’s comments were alarming and suggested the UK government had acted “in bad faith.”
“That message needs to be heard around the world,” Varadkar said, warning other nations from entering into trade deals with Johnson’s government.
“If the British government doesn’t honour its agreements, it doesn’t adhere to treaties it signs, that must apply to everyone else too,” Varadkar told RTE.
“At the moment they’re going around the world, they’re trying to negotiate new trade agreements. Surely the message must go out to all countries around the world that this is a British government that doesn’t necessarily keep its word and doesn’t necessarily honour the agreements it makes.
“And you shouldn’t make any agreements with them until such time as you’re confident that they keep their promises, and honour things, for example, like the protocol.”
Cummings has frequently referred to Johnson using the shopping cart emoji, having told MPs in May 2021 he goes “smashing from one side of the aisle to the other.”