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Leo Varadkar and Theresa May: They both know it would be easier to do a bilateral deal – but that simply isn’t how Brexit is being done.

It would be typical of a Tory – when they can’t get what they want by following the rules, they ignore the rules altogether.

Theresa May knows the UK cannot negotiate a bilateral deal with any of the EU27 nations, just to suit herself; the UK is dealing with the whole bloc, or with nobody.

But that hasn’t worked for her, so we’re being told she’s going cap in hand to the Republic of Ireland:

Bear in mind, this is from The Times, a newspaper that claimed membership of the Labour Party has plummeted by something like 150,000, when in fact Labour membership is continuing to rise.

And sure enough, it seems this is more wishful thinking, to judge by coverage in the Independent.

That paper stated: “A Downing Street source said talk of a bilateral agreement with Ireland was ‘not something we recognise’.

“Ms May will update the Commons on Monday on how she plans to proceed.”

And we’ll see whether Downing Street recognises anything different at that time.

But the message seems clear:

And here’s the word from Ireland:

So: Both Downing Street and the Irish government say a bilateral agreement isn’t on the cards, and it wold be illegal in any case.

But Mrs May won’t be able to get her Brexit deal past the DUP and many of her own Tory MPs without an undertaking to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic open.

It seems Mrs May would have better spent the last week talking to herself. Some may say that’s what she’s been doing.

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