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The Latest: EU: Impossible to plan against Irish hard border

Published
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar looks the media while German Chancellor Angela Merkel adjusts her hair as they pose at the entrance Farmleigh House for the media in Dublin, Ireland, Thursday, April 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain's exit from the European Union (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says the European Union is determined to avoid the return of a hard border with Northern Ireland in the event of a disorderly Brexit.

But he acknowledged it is unclear how that can be achieved. Varadkar says that because of all the uncertainty, "it's not possible, quite frankly, to have a clear plan."

He spoke in Dublin Thursday after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two leaders visited the currently invisible border to meet people whose lives and livelihoods would be disrupted by the return of customs posts and other obstacles.

Merkel said "we simply have to be successful" in keeping the border open, and "where there's a will there's a way."

The two leaders said they hoped cross-party talks in London aimed at finding a compromise Brexit deal would succeed. Merkel said "we are following this with great interest."

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4:45 p.m.

Debate in Britain's House of Commons has been suspended after water began pouring through a ceiling into the chamber below.

Lawmakers were ordered out of the chamber Thursday as a torrent cascaded onto the press gallery, where journalists sit to watch Commons business.

Experts have warned for years that the Parliament building, one of London's most famous landmarks, needs urgent repairs. Pipes frequently burst, brickwork is crumbling and the building is riddled with asbestos.

The leak is the latest unexpected event in a week that has seen a series of dramatic votes on Brexit. On Wednesday, for the first time in a quarter of a century, a vote by lawmakers ended in a tie.

On Monday, a dozen environmental activists stripped off in the public gallery to protest climate change.

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1:20 p.m.

A leading official in the European Union says he cannot rule out the prospect of customs points being built on the Irish border with Northern Ireland in the event Britain crashes out of the bloc in eight days without a deal.

Top members of the EU's executive commission have repeatedly warned that a 'no-deal' scenario is likely given doubts over whether the U.K. parliament will endorse the Brexit agreement by April 12.

Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said "a hard Brexit is increasingly possible."

Asked whether border posts would be needed between EU state Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland, he said the aim is ensure that checks are done "away from the border, if at all possible."

Currently there is no infrastructure, and goods, livestock and people move freely across the border.

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9:10 a.m.

Meetings are planned Thursday between the British government and the opposition Labour Party in an urgent search for a compromise Brexit solution.

The upper House of Lords is also set to consider legislation that would force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a Brexit delay from the European Union. The bill is aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit on April 12.

British police are warning politicians to tone down their Brexit rhetoric amid concerns about the volatile public mood as the future of Brexit is debated.

British officials hope to agree on a Brexit plan that can be presented to EU officials ahead of an April 10 summit that will determine if the scheduled exit date can be delayed.

Business leaders warn a "no-deal" Brexit would badly hurt commerce.

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Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in background walks past German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they begin a press following their meeting at Farmleigh House in Dublin, Ireland, Thursday, April 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
In this photo provided by the UK Parliament, Britain's Speaker John Bercow addresses MP's in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. A Brexit-related vote in Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday ended in a tie, the first time that has happened in a quarter-century. Under Parliament's rules, the speaker of the House has tie-breaking power. Speaker John Bercow cast his vote with the noes. He said that was in keeping with the principle that
In this photo provided by the UK Parliament, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, center, in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. A Brexit-related vote in Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday ended in a tie, the first time that has happened in a quarter-century. Under Parliament's rules, the speaker of the House has tie-breaking power. Speaker John Bercow cast his vote with the noes. He said that was in keeping with the principle that
In this photo provided by the UK Parliament, Britain's Speaker John Bercow addresses MP's in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. A Brexit-related vote in Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday ended in a tie, the first time that has happened in a quarter-century. Under Parliament's rules, the speaker of the House has tie-breaking power. Speaker John Bercow cast his vote with the noes. He said that was in keeping with the principle that
Sweden's Speaker of Parliament Andeas Norlen, left, welcomes European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier during a visit to the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, Thursday April 4, 2019. (Claudio Bresciani/TT via AP)
A pro Brexit placard placed on the ground as a pedestrian walks past the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. With Britain racing toward a chaotic exit from the European Union within days, Theresa May veered away from the cliff-edge Tuesday, saying she would seek another Brexit delay and hold talks with the opposition to seek a compromise.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Anti Brexit demonstrators hold up their flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. With Britain racing toward a chaotic exit from the European Union within days, Theresa May veered away from the cliff-edge Tuesday, saying she would seek another Brexit delay and hold talks with the opposition to seek a compromise.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
A man shelters with an umbrella as he walks by Pro EU protestors  holding flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Thursday, April 4, 2019.  The British government and senior opposition figures were meeting Thursday in search of a new plan on how the country leaves the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May tried to stop her shift toward compromise from splitting her Conservative Party. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A pro EU protestor holds flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Thursday, April 4, 2019.  The British government and senior opposition figures were meeting Thursday in search of a new plan on how the country leaves the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May tried to stop her shift toward compromise from splitting her Conservative Party. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following a press conference after their meeting Farmleigh House in Dublin, Ireland, Thursday, April 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
A pro Brexit placard placed on the ground as a pedestrian walks past the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. With Britain racing toward a chaotic exit from the European Union within days, Theresa May veered away from the cliff-edge Tuesday, saying she would seek another Brexit delay and hold talks with the opposition to seek a compromise.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
A pro Brexit placard placed on the ground as a pedestrian walks past the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. With Britain racing toward a chaotic exit from the European Union within days, Theresa May veered away from the cliff-edge Tuesday, saying she would seek another Brexit delay and hold talks with the opposition to seek a compromise.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
In this photo provided by the UK Parliament, Britain's Speaker John Bercow addresses MP's in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. A Brexit-related vote in Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday ended in a tie, the first time that has happened in a quarter-century. Under Parliament's rules, the speaker of the House has tie-breaking power. Speaker John Bercow cast his vote with the noes. He said that was in keeping with the principle that
In this photo provided by the UK Parliament, Britain's Speaker John Bercow addresses MP's in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. A Brexit-related vote in Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday ended in a tie, the first time that has happened in a quarter-century. Under Parliament's rules, the speaker of the House has tie-breaking power. Speaker John Bercow cast his vote with the noes. He said that was in keeping with the principle that "it is not for the chair to create a majority that otherwise doesn't exist." (Mark Duffy/UK Parliament via AP)
A man shelters with an umbrella as he walks by Pro EU protestors  holding flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Thursday, April 4, 2019.  The British government and senior opposition figures were meeting Thursday in search of a new plan on how the country leaves the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May tried to stop her shift toward compromise from splitting her Conservative Party. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A man shelters with an umbrella as he walks by Pro EU protestors holding flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Thursday, April 4, 2019. The British government and senior opposition figures were meeting Thursday in search of a new plan on how the country leaves the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May tried to stop her shift toward compromise from splitting her Conservative Party. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
In this photo provided by the UK Parliament, Britain's Speaker John Bercow addresses MP's in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. A Brexit-related vote in Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday ended in a tie, the first time that has happened in a quarter-century. Under Parliament's rules, the speaker of the House has tie-breaking power. Speaker John Bercow cast his vote with the noes. He said that was in keeping with the principle that
In this photo provided by the UK Parliament, Britain's Speaker John Bercow addresses MP's in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. A Brexit-related vote in Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday ended in a tie, the first time that has happened in a quarter-century. Under Parliament's rules, the speaker of the House has tie-breaking power. Speaker John Bercow cast his vote with the noes. He said that was in keeping with the principle that "it is not for the chair to create a majority that otherwise doesn't exist." (Mark Duffy/UK Parliament via AP)
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following a press conference after their meeting Farmleigh House in Dublin, Ireland, Thursday, April 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following a press conference after their meeting Farmleigh House in Dublin, Ireland, Thursday, April 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar looks the media while German Chancellor Angela Merkel adjusts her hair as they pose at the entrance Farmleigh House for the media in Dublin, Ireland, Thursday, April 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar looks the media while German Chancellor Angela Merkel adjusts her hair as they pose at the entrance Farmleigh House for the media in Dublin, Ireland, Thursday, April 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Anti Brexit demonstrators hold up their flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. With Britain racing toward a chaotic exit from the European Union within days, Theresa May veered away from the cliff-edge Tuesday, saying she would seek another Brexit delay and hold talks with the opposition to seek a compromise.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Anti Brexit demonstrators hold up their flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. With Britain racing toward a chaotic exit from the European Union within days, Theresa May veered away from the cliff-edge Tuesday, saying she would seek another Brexit delay and hold talks with the opposition to seek a compromise.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
A pro EU protestor holds flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Thursday, April 4, 2019.  The British government and senior opposition figures were meeting Thursday in search of a new plan on how the country leaves the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May tried to stop her shift toward compromise from splitting her Conservative Party. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A pro EU protestor holds flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Thursday, April 4, 2019. The British government and senior opposition figures were meeting Thursday in search of a new plan on how the country leaves the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May tried to stop her shift toward compromise from splitting her Conservative Party. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in background walks past German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they begin a press following their meeting at Farmleigh House in Dublin, Ireland, Thursday, April 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in background walks past German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they begin a press following their meeting at Farmleigh House in Dublin, Ireland, Thursday, April 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
In this photo provided by the UK Parliament, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, center, in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. A Brexit-related vote in Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday ended in a tie, the first time that has happened in a quarter-century. Under Parliament's rules, the speaker of the House has tie-breaking power. Speaker John Bercow cast his vote with the noes. He said that was in keeping with the principle that
In this photo provided by the UK Parliament, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, center, in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. A Brexit-related vote in Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday ended in a tie, the first time that has happened in a quarter-century. Under Parliament's rules, the speaker of the House has tie-breaking power. Speaker John Bercow cast his vote with the noes. He said that was in keeping with the principle that "it is not for the chair to create a majority that otherwise doesn't exist." (Mark Duffy/UK Parliament via AP)
Sweden's Speaker of Parliament Andeas Norlen, left, welcomes European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier during a visit to the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, Thursday April 4, 2019. (Claudio Bresciani/TT via AP)
Sweden's Speaker of Parliament Andeas Norlen, left, welcomes European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier during a visit to the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, Thursday April 4, 2019. (Claudio Bresciani/TT via AP)