Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has criticised British Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiating style, saying, "You don’t survive a confidence vote at seven-thirty, invite opposition parties to talks, then go on TV at 10pm and criticise them for not turning up.

"You do this by soft, quiet diplomacy. It takes days and weeks to try and get people to see what’s possible and not possible."

Mr Ahern said the British parliament should hold a series of votes on proposals for dealing with Brexit in order to find a consensus on which to negotiate with the EU.

He told the Killarney Economic Conference that there are about ten different proposals for re-starting talks with the EU, following the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by a majority of 230 votes on Tuesday.

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He said a quick series of votes would see seven of those ideas quickly taken off the table, instancing the rejection by 600 votes of an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday that would have permitted a unilateral ending of the Backstop by the UK.

He said: "Then you could start looking in detail at the three remaining ideas. It would be a new negotiation, I accept that, but the basis of the negotiation would be the Withdrawal Agreement that is already negotiated, and everybody has to look afresh at it, including the Irish Government, and feed their ideas into the EU".

He said the use of "indicative votes" could move the process forward quite quickly, but the UK would still have to seek an extension of the Article 50 process.

He said the UK could only seek such an extension if it had come up with a solid basis for negotiations that was backed by a Parliamentary majority composed of the Labour Party and most of the Conservatives.

Mr Ahern said he was neutral on the issue of a second referendum, saying he was not advocating a second referendum, but rather indicative voting to determine what they way forward is, and an extension of Article 50 for negotiations.