British Prime Minister Theresa May has told Tory MPs that the alternative to her potential Brexit deal with the EU is no deal.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March.

However, there is, so far, no full exit agreement and some rebels in Mrs May's Conservative Party have threatened to vote down a deal if she clinches one.

"I think that the alternative to that will be having no deal," Mrs May told the BBC.

The main sticking point to agreeing a deal between Britain and the EU is the issue of ensuring there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit.

The Times newspaper reported that the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, is working on a new protocol text outlining how to use technology to minimise checks on the border.

Under the EU plan, goods could be tracked using barcodes on shipping containers under "trusted-trader" schemes administered by registered companies, the Times reported.

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Reuters reported on 12 September that EU officials were working on a sensitive Irish protocol to the draft Brexit treaty with Britain, as part of what Mr Barnier has called efforts to "de-dramatise" the issue and get a deal.

The proposals are to be circulated to European governments after the Conservative Party conference which starts on 30 September, according to the Times.

The "revised draft of the Northern Ireland protocol", according to a diplomatic note of talks between EU ambassadors, will propose that most new checks would not happen at any border, the Times said.

Former British foreign minister Boris Johnson has said the EU's fallback position for the border would mean Northern Ireland was "annexed" by Brussels.

He added that alternative plans set out by Mrs May would "effectively" keep Britain in the bloc.

However the Prime Minister has said the counter-proposal to her Chequers plan is "still a hard border" and hers is the only way that does not "carve up the United Kingdom".

"The people of Northern Ireland deserve to be listened to in these negotiations by the UK government, as do people elsewhere in this country," she told the BBC.

"I want to ensure that as we go forward we have that strong union... Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. They don't want a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

"The only proposal that's been put forward that delivers on them not having a hard border and ensures that we don't carve up the United Kingdom, is the Chequers plan."

Additional reporting PA