British government says Leo Varadkar is 'wrong' to threaten to stop British planes flying to Ireland
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British government says Leo Varadkar is 'wrong' to threaten to stop British planes flying to Ireland

THE British government has responded to comments by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar threatening to stop British planes from flying over Ireland.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May has said that Mr Varadkar was “wrong” to say what he said.

The spokesman said: “ It is wrong to say that Ireland could simply stop the UK from flying over its land as a result of Brexit because over-flight rights are not guaranteed by the EU but by multinational treaty which both ourselves and Ireland are signed up to.

“We are confident that we will reach an agreement which maintains our aviation access.”

Mr Varadkar told an audience in Kerry yesterday that the UK “can’t have your cake and eat it. You can’t take back your waters and then expect to take back other people’s sky.”

British Government officials have pointed out that airspace rules are not governed by the EU, but the International Air Services Transit Agreement signed by 133 nations.

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Therefore, Ireland could only block British planes by quitting the treaty.

Other Conservative MPs lashed out at Mr Varadkar over the remarks, with Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the backbench Eurosceptics, branding him an “airhead”.

“Air traffic control continued between Russia and the Ukraine after Russia invaded the Crimea so this idea is silly,” he told The Sun.

“On the other hand most flights from the EU to America pass through our air traffic control so this rather lightweight Irish gentleman is proposing an absurd act.”