The EU is 'unconvinced' by UK's Brexit proposals

Arlene Foster was speaking at a gathering during the Tory conference

The European Parliament, which has to approve or reject any new deal that might be struck between Britain and the EU, made it clear that the proposals as they stand would not fly.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson replied: "I've met many businesses in Northern Ireland who want emphatically to get a deal and that is the overwhelming view of businesses in Northern Ireland".

A secret Whitehall dossier, relating to Operation Yellowhammer, outlining the disruption the United Kingdom could face in the event of a no-deal Brexit, was released by the Government last month after a demand by MPs.

Mr Coveney said that, while the plan tabled by the Prime Minister did not provide the basis for a final agreement with the European Union, it did represent "progress" and could potentially be a "stepping stone" towards a resolution.

"Accepting such a proposal would not meet all the objectives of the backstop", a commission statement said.

Mr Johnson reaffirmed yesterday that he had no intention of seeking an extension despite Parliament's instruction to do so should he fail to secure a new agreement over the next two weeks.

Johnson reached out Thursday to both the European Union and to the House of Commons with a softer tone, despite the fact the proposals were billed by his own office as a take-it-or-leave-it "final offer".

The deal also proposes giving the devolved Northern Ireland government - which has yet to be formed since a 2017 election - the right to decide whether to continue with the arrangement or abandon it.

Johnson's new Brexit plan received mixed reviews from the EU's other member states.

Simon Coveney, the Tánaiste, said Johnson's proposal for customs checks on the island presented a "real problem".

Mr Johnson told the Commons on Thursday that while his proposals do not deliver all his Brexit goals they are better options than to "remain a prisoner" of the current situation.

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Using the conciliatory tone and repeated references to "our European friends" that marked a distinct change from previous weeks in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister told lawmakers that the plans "represent a compromise", adding that "we have tried to bridge the chasm and go the extra mile as time runs short".

Yet European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud insisted it was up to Britain to come up with a plan that worked for everyone.

"We need to move forward at pace, intensively", he told BBC Radio.

He said there was a need for "honesty" in terms of what was possible in a final deal. After being briefed by EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, the Brexit group declared the proposals were a step back towards an overall deal.

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called Mr Johnson's plan "not workable" and "reckless".

"These proposals are unacceptable, they are unworkable, they are undeliverable, and it's all about blaming someone else - in this case the European Union when the plan was rejected, " he said.

He said he planned to seek cross-party support for the proposals, so far only Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have formally voiced support.

"Secure an extension or resign", he demanded.

Unrepentant British lawmakers attacked the new Brexit plan and Johnson, accusing him of deliberately proposing a deal he knows won't work.

While the divorce accord struck by Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May, was rejected three times by the British parliament, Johnson received cautious support on Thursday from numerous pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers who helped defeat May's deal.

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