Britain has proposed stripping all elements of the backstop out of the Withdrawal Agreement leaving only a commitment to the all-island electricity market, the Common Travel Area and the rights of EU citizens.

That is according to diplomats briefed on a meeting between Boris Johnson's chief negotiator and the European Commission.

The UK has instead proposed that both sides would make a commitment to no hard border, but only after Britain had left the European Union.

It is understood London will insist that over time alternative arrangements, such as technology, exemptions, trusted traders schemes and so on can ensure there is no infrastructure at the border.

EU sources say the UK's chief negotiator David Frost suggested that any arrangements for the Irish border should not be seen as a bridge to a future trade relationship, but rather as a fixed arrangement.

UK officials also said the future trade agreement should be an arms length one from the EU and that Britain would not seek to mirror EU social and environmental legislation.

British officials return for talks in Brussels again tomorrow.