European Union Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has told a meeting of EU diplomats that Britain’s suggestion the EU27 would eventually cave in on Brexit was wrong.

He said Britain risks crashing out without a deal by accident or by default, officials have said. 

Mr Barnier told a meeting of the 27 national envoys to Brussels that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was reneging on London's earlier commitments on the Irish border.

He said that the EU must remain calm and vigilant, and that London has still not presented any specific proposals on replacing the backstop, the sources added.

He did, however, say that London clearly stated it only wanted a very limited free trade agreement with the EU in the future and did not want to legally commit to a level-playing field or convergent state aid rules to ensure fair competition.

Germany's envoy said at the meeting that the latest round of EU-UK talks on Brexit would lead nowhere and was a waste of time, the sources said, in what could come as an unpleasant surprise to London, which hopes Berlin would help it convince other EU countries to give ground on the backstop impasse.