Wednesday, 02 October 2019 22:44

Boris Johnson appears to be fighting a losing battle to avoid Britain staying in the EU beyond 31 October.

Johnson’s plan involves Northern Ireland leaving the EU's custom union at the end of transition, together with the rest of the UK, necessitating checks and controls on the island of Ireland.

Northern Ireland would also stay aligned with EU standards on goods if Stormont agreed by December 2020, the end of the transition period, and then in a vote every four years.

But the UK has also requested that both sides commit at treaty level “never to conduct checks at the border” even if Stormont vetoes the arrangements laid out in the new 44 page Irish protocol.

It is understood that the European parliament’s Brexit steering group will say on Thursday that MEPs will not vote in support of the deal proposed by the UK government.

In his speech in Manchester, the prime minister attacked parliament for seeking to block Brexit, repeatedly praised the NHS and warned the EU27 that he was determined to take Britain out of the EU on 31 October.