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Earlier this week Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay exasperated Michel Barnier by suggesting that its in the EU’s interest to avoid no deal to preserve the Irish economy.

Mr Barclay was accused of “treating his trip as a job interview for a Boris Johnson supervision” by one EU official familiar with the discussions.

An EU diplomat described the current humour in Brussels as “bleak”, adding: “Neither Hunt or Johnson have plained us that they have a plan to avoid a no deal.”

After his get-together in Brussels on Tuesday, Mr Barclay said: “The EU also recognises that no negotiation is in neither side’s interest, that no deal particularly, if one looks at the asymmetric influence across Europe, particularly impacts in Ireland.

“I think the impact of no buy is greater to the Irish economy than it is to the UK, so the EU wants to avoid no deal only as much as the UK wants to avoid no deal.”

He claimed Irish exports to continental Europe thinks fitting be equally impacted as British goods by queues at the Port of Dover.

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