The European Union (EU) is preparing to make concessions, allowing the Irish border to be kept open using technology, as many Brexiteers have urged.
Brussels will reportedly accept that advances in scanning technology can be used to solve the deadlock on customs checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Under the EU plan, goods will be tracked using shipping barcodes, removing the need for extra infrastructure on the border.
The development comes ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May’s trip to Salzburg later this week to meet with EU leaders.
She agreed last year for Northern Ireland to stay locked in the bloc’s Single Market if the border cannot be kept open.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, has once again attacked Mrs May’s Chequers plan describing it as a “spectacular political car crash”.
In his Daily Telegraph column, he wrote: “If the Brexit negotiations continue on this path they will end, I am afraid, in a spectacular political car crash.”
Rees-Mogg: EU Using Irish Border Issue to Keep UK Locked in Single Market https://t.co/ZdTfU6QFFm
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 15, 2018
Mr Johnson, who has previously argued the issue of the Irish border is being spun by anti-Brexit campaigners to keep the country tied to the bloc, added:
“If we are to get out of this mess, and get the great British motor back on track, then we need to understand the Irish backstop, and how it is being used to coerce the UK into becoming a vassal state of Brussels.”
“Both versions of the backstop are disastrous. One threatens the union, the other version – and its close cousin, Chequers – keep us effectively in the EU, as humiliated rules takers.
“We need to challenge the assumptions of both these Irish backstops, or we are heading full throttle for the ditch with a total write-off of Brexit.
“We are straining at the gnat of the Irish border problem – in fact we haven’t even tried to chew the gnat – and we are swallowing the camel of EU membership in all but name.”
Mr Johnson said that if Chequers was adopted, “it would mean that for the first time since 1066 our leaders were deliberately acquiescing in foreign rule”.
Surrender to Brussels Agreed: Britain Obeys all EU Laws, no Control of Fisheries, Open Borders to 2020 https://t.co/FZTm4NGcWW
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 19, 2018