Irish PM Leo Varadkar refuses to discuss Brexit during PM's visit to Dublin

The riled Taoiseach was also accused of contradicting himself ahead of the PM’s arrival in the Irish capital for dinner with him.

Mr Varadkar snapped at suggestions that Mrs May is trying to go behind his back to Brussels chiefs and enforce legal changes to the controversial Irish backstop to ensure it is only temporary.

He declared: “I am the European Union when it comes to these matters. The Irish Government and the EU are all one when it comes to Brexit.

“If people haven’t realised that over the past three years, they are coming to realise it now.”

But moments later, he insisted actual negotiations “can only be between the European Union and the United Kingdom”, not the two leaders.

Instead, he would only “share perspectives” with Mrs May during the dinner at his country retreat.

No10 sources had earlier hoped the crucial meeting would “find a way forward” over the Irish backstop impasse.

Ahead of the dinner, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox also held talks yesterday in the Irish capital with his counterpart Seamus Woulfe.

Mr Cox has been leading work within Whitehall on providing either a time limit on the backstop or giving the UK an exit mechanism from it.

Dinner's menu

Starter: Cured organic salmon.

Main: Fillet of beef, dauphinoise potato, green beans and parsnip purée.

Selection of Irish cheeses, meringue nest topped with seasonal fruit.

PM, as ever, will have fruit for pudding.

Mr Varadkar also angered No10 by describing Jeremy Corbyn’s softer Brexit new proposals as “very interesting”.

But DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds came to Mrs May’s aide by rubbishing them, saying Mr Corbyn’s plan “doesn’t have the support of his own party, obviously”.

Mr Dodds added: “The way to a majority for a deal in the United Kingdom is with the Conservative Party and the DUP”.


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