Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he would like to see "a convincing majority for unification" after the UK's Minister of State for Northern Ireland Steven Baker signaled support for a 'supermajority' vote in an Irish border poll.

Speaking in Ireland on Monday, Baker told the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) that the UK's Brexit referendum “probably should have been a supermajority” of at least 60%. 

In 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU by 52% to 48%.

Baker, a leading Brexiteer, said: "If we’d had to have 60 percent, everybody would have abided by the result."

Baker then cautioned against a “50 percent plus one” result in any potential Irish unification vote.

“Just reflect on the trouble we had from running a 50% plus one referendum in the United Kingdom and ask yourself whether you really want that trouble in Northern Ireland – and I don’t," Baker said, according to the PA.

Speaking with reporters in Brussels on Friday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Baker is "absolutely entitled to express his opinions" on the matter of 'supermajority' votes in relation to an Irish border poll.

"I know occasions when people have even questioned my right to have an opinion, and I do have an opinion on these things," Varadkar said. "Steve Baker does too. I totally respect that.

"I would offer no criticism of the fact that he's thinking about these things and expressing views.

"I understand the argument in favor of supermajority. 50% plus one would not be the most desirable outcome.

"We would much rather see a convincing majority for unification if and when a border poll comes - I don't think the time is right for that, I think it's quite distant in fact for reasons I've explained in the past.

"I suppose the difficulty with a supermajority is how long could you keep the status quo in place if, consistently, a majority of people didn't want that status quo."

Border poll now would be defeated, says Varadkar. https://t.co/RYwifemvww pic.twitter.com/IUlg1cOIu7

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Varadkar added: "The reason why I don't think it [a border poll] is a good idea at the moment is that the indications are that it would be defeated and it would also be divisive and that's why the focus has to be on getting the Good Friday Agreement working again and institutions up and running."

Northern Ireland has been without a functioning Executive for more than a year after the DUP pulled out of power-sharing as a matter of protest of the Northern Ireland Protocol and later The Windsor Framework. 

Reflecting on other referendums around the world that didn't succeed, Varadkar remarked: "If we're going to win a referendum on that matter, a huge amount of work has to be done to convince the British people in Northern Ireland, those who have a Unionist, Loyalist, Protestant, British identity, that they're welcome, that they're wanted, that a united Ireland would be a warm home for them. There's not enough talk about that, quite frankly."