Irish premier Enda Kenny has been urged to “keep his nose out of British politics” after he told Theresa May the outworking of the general election must not put the Good Friday Agreement at risk.
Mr Kenny, who will formally retire as taoiseach in the coming days to be replaced by new Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, tweeted yesterday saying he had spoken with Mrs May about protecting the Good Friday Agreement.
However, former Ulster Unionist MP and life peer Lord Kilclooney claimed that Mr Kenny’s intervention was “offensive” to the people of the UK.
“He should keep his nose out of internal UK politics. Mr Kenny has some cheek in opposing a role for the DUP, when the DUP has shared government with Sinn Fein and is prepared to continue to do so,” said Lord Kilclooney.
“In contrast, Mr Kenny refuses to share power in Dublin with Sinn Fein. He has proved himself to be a man of double standards.”
A spokeswoman for Mrs May confirmed that the prime minister had been involved in a telephone conversation with Mr Kenny.
“Prime Minister Theresa May spoke on the phone to Taoiseach Enda Kenny today. The prime minister explained that she is working towards a confidence and supply deal with the DUP which would provide stability and certainty for the UK going forward,” said the spokeswoman.
“They confirmed their joint commitment to restoring a Northern Ireland Executive as soon as possible and agreed that both countries would continue to engage closely to bring about political stability in Northern Ireland. The prime minister reiterated that the government’s approach and objectives in the forthcoming talks to re-establish the Northern Ireland Executive remained unchanged.
“The two leaders spoke about their willingness to continue close cooperation as the UK embarks on leaving the European Union, with no return to a hard border.
“The prime minister thanked Mr Kenny for helping to make UK-Ireland relations stronger than ever, wished him well for the future and said she looked forward to continuing a close relationship with his successor.”
Labour’s Yvette Cooper, appearing on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, suggested the Tories’ deal with the DUP could put the Northern Ireland peace process in jeopardy.
“This DUP deal that they have done is really dodgy, it is unsustainable,” the former shadow home secretary said.
“But it is not just bad in terms of the politics of the House of Commons, it is also really irresponsible for the Northern Ireland peace process.
“The idea that the British government could be taking sides having been the guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement and the subsequent peace agreements, I think is really troubling.”
She said the Conservatives are “cobbling together” a government and are putting party interest ahead of national interest and the Northern Ireland peace process.
“It is really, really worrying,” she said.