Irish PM Varadkar rejects May plans to change backstop

FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Defence Minister Leo Varadkar stands for the national anthem during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told British Prime Minister Theresa May he would not accept her plans to renegotiate a post-Brexit arrangement for the Irish border and said the so-called Irish “backstop” needed to be legally robust.

Parliament voted late on Tuesday to order May to return to Brussels to replace the so-called Irish backstop, an insurance policy that aims to prevent the reintroduction of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“The Taoiseach set out once again the unchanged Irish and EU position on the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop, noting that the latest developments had reinforced the need for a backstop which is legally robust and workable in practice,” a spokesman for Irish government said after the two leaders spoke by phone.

Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison