The EU's chief Brexit negotiator has pulled out of a planned visit to Northern Ireland next Monday.

Michel Barnier has decided it would be inappropriate to carry out the series of engagements at a time when "we have finally arrived at a moment of truth" for the UK.

His itinerary included a speaking engagement at Belfast's Queen's University.

In a letter to the university's Vice Chancellor, Mr Barnier said that "pronouncing myself publicly in the midst of the debate that is ongoing at Westminster would not be appropriate".

He noted that "the UK is engaged in an intense political debate. In many respects, we have finally arrived at a moment of truth for the country".

Mr Barnier also said he did not want what would have been his first public speech in the UK since the referendum to be used by some to undermine the chances for an orderly Brexit.

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