There are fresh fears of a no-deal Brexit after it emerged the British government is drawing up plans that would override a key part of its withdrawal agreement with the EU.
Ministers are preparing legislation that would eliminate the requirement for new customs arrangements in Northern Ireland designed to prevent the return of border checks.
Boris Johnson has set a deadline of 15 October for Britain and the EU to agree a post-Brexit trade deal, giving negotiators five weeks before the prospect of walking away from the table.
The move, first reported by the Financial Times, was branded “an act of immense bad faith” by the Labour Party, who accused the prime minister of “threatening to renege on the UK’s legal obligations”.
But Johnson is expected to say later on Monday that completing the UK’s exit from the EU without a trade deal would be a “good outcome”.
Northern Ireland deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill said any threat of backtracking would be a “treacherous betrayal which would inflict irreversible harm on the all-Ireland economy and the Good Friday Agreement”.
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