Boris Johnson's Meeting With Irish Taoiseach Cancelled As PM Self-Isolates
Exclusive: A Boris Johnson meeting with Ireland's Taoiseach Micheal Martin has been scrapped because the Prime Minister self-isolating.
Martin was due to travel to London tomorrow for a Downing Street lunch with Johnson, PoliticsHome reported on Friday.
The Taoiseach's visit was a highly-anticipated, with the government's controversial proposals for dealing with the legacy of The Troubles high on the agenda.
The Irish government, as well as all main political parties in Northern Ireland, are opposed to the UK's plan to end all prosecutions of former soldiers and paramilataries accused of commiting crimes during the 30-year sectarian conflict.
Simon Coveney, Ireland's foreign minister, last week said the proposals would breach the European Convention of Human Rights and result in legal challenges.
"In our view, this would be politically and legally unsustainable, and would damage relationships and trust critical to the protection of the achievements of the peace process," Coveney wrote.
The two leaders were also set to discuss the UK and European Union's ongoing efforts to address disruption caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol, with business groups in the province warning chaos awaits in October when various grace periods for trade from Great Britain are due to expire.
However, the UK and Irish governments will now have to rearrange the London talks after Johnson came into contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday.
The Prime Minister is self-isolating in his Chequers residence. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequor, also came into contact with Javid and is self-isolating.
Downing Street found itself at the eye of a storm on Sunday morning when it announced that its participation in a daily testing pilot scheme meant Johnson and Sunak were exempt from the normal self-isolation rules.
The pair would continue to do "essential" work in Downing Street and self-isolate when not in work, a spokesperson said.
The announcement outraged opposition politicians and in less than three hours the government U-turned, with Downing Street releasing a new statement saying Johnson and Sunak would self-isolate as normal.
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