'The European Union is not a prison' - UK granted Halloween Brexit deadline by EU leaders
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'The European Union is not a prison' - UK granted Halloween Brexit deadline by EU leaders

LEO VARADKAR has told the UK the EU is “not a prison” and Britain does not have to stay but it is not going to be kicked out either.

The comments come after the UK was granted a new Brexit deadline of October 31st – Halloween.

The Taoiseach was among EU leaders locked in talks over the extension at EU headquarters in Brussels.

Emerging in the early hours of the morning – 3am Irish time – the deal offers the UK some breathing space to find a way through their current Brexit impasse.

Emerging from the summit, Varadkar appeared on good terms with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

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Speaking to Irish journalists outside of the Consilium in Brussels, Varadkar laid out the terms of the extension.

“We’re all done, the agreement is that there is going to be a (sic) ‘flextension’ until the 31st of October, but if they ratify the Withdrawal Agreement before that they can leave earlier,” he said [via the Irish Mirror].

“They will have to participate in the EU elections (on May 23rd and 24th) and if they do not they will have to leave without a deal on June 1st.

“We’ll review progress at our regular EU Council meeting in June, but that won’t be a decision-making one, it will just be an ordinary one as such.

“But from Ireland’s point of view, we won’t have a no deal Brexit on Friday if no deal happens at all, we won’t have it until the end of October, but that creates a period of time for the United Kingdom to essentially come to a cross-party agreement and to ratify the (Withdrawal) Agreement.”

“The European Union is not a prison, nobody has to stay, but it’s also a home and we’re not going to kick anyone out either,” he added.

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The deal is still dependent on British Prime Minister Theresa May getting approval from the House of Commons before the 11pm deadline on Friday April 12th.