Trump questions Britain's handling of Brexit, eyes bilateral trade deal

DUP leader Arlene Foster chats to US President Donald Trump while Taoiseach Leo Varadkar talks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a lunch hosted by her yesterday

Speaking to reporters on Thursday ahead of a meeting with Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, the POTUS said that he did give a piece of advice to Theresa May which she didn't take.

"I lived in a country where if I'd tried to be myself at the time, it would have ended up breaking laws", the Irish prime minister said.

"I think it'll be a few years until the United Kingdom sorts itself out", predicted Varadkar. Lawmakers have committed the country to staying in the bloc unless a divorce deal is ratified.

However, he later became critical of May's Brexit proposals; after European leaders endorsed her blueprint at a summit last November, he said the deal could disrupt the UK-US trade.

"The potential is unlimited!" he tweeted.

Pelosi used the luncheon to make a pointed plug for immigration after just she had just described the annual event as "a tradition where we dispense with our differences, whether they're political or whether they're competitive in any other way".

"I will be coming at some point this year", he said.

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MPs have rejected May's withdrawal agreement by huge margins twice and will next vote on delaying Brexit on Thursday night.

The House of Commons will hold another series of crunch votes later today focusing on whether to delay Brexit by requesting an extension to Article 50, the legal mechanism countries use to leave the EU.

Gardiner rejects Irish concerns about the border and said the issue has been used as a "battering ram" by European Union leadership keen to make Britain a cautionary example to other member states flirting with an exit. "There is very deep-seated animosity within the Irish government to Brexit".

It was potentially the thorniest meeting in Mr Varadkar's packed Washington schedule but it passed off well, with Mr Pence promising to visit Ireland with his mother Nancy to see their ancestral home. Varadkar said he appreciates what the president has done for his country economically.

During the annual event, the Taoiseach also presented the president with a bowl of shamrock to mark his St Patrick's visit to Washington DC.

Mr Varadkar said: "The Irish people have always had a dialogue with the American people".

"The United States and the Republic of Ireland have such close ties that it's unlikely that anything permanently damaging would happen", McMahon said. But it will all work out. "One way or the other it's going to work out".

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