Kenny congratulates Cameron on ‘stunning victory’

Taoiseach says newly elected British PM ‘wants to stay in European Union’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny congratulated David Cameron in a brief call on Saturday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny congratulated David Cameron in a brief call on Saturday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny congratulated British prime minister David Cameron on his “stunning victory” in the UK election, in a brief telephone conversation on Saturday.

Talking to reporters in Co Sligo, Mr Kenny said the implications for Ireland of decision by Britain to exit the European Union would be “very serious indeed”. But he said Mr Cameron wanted to stay in the union.

The two men were to have their annual bilateral in March, but that meeting had been delayed because of the election and would now take place before the European Council meeting on June 26th.

Mr Kenny said clearly, given the mandate he had got, Mr Cameron would now focus on the question of a referendum. Between this and then there would be lot of detailed negotiations about reforms .

“We would not be in the business of treaty change,” Mr Kenny said.

Asked whether Mr Cameron’s success gave him encouragement as he faces a general election after a period of austerity, Mr Kenny said the first past the post system in Britain was very different to the Irish system.

His focus would continue to be on fixing our finances and getting people back to work, he added. “We are not there yet”.

The Taoiseach said that from his point of view he would have “a great story to tell” coming into the election.