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United Kingdom parties divided over Brexit as businesses sound warnings

A ferry arriving at the Port of Dover’s Eastern Docks in England

"What my focus now is, on making sure that at the end in October, when we come together with the withdrawal agreement and our future relationship we have a good relationship for the future that is going to deliver for the British people", she said.

Pro-Brexit campaign group Leave.EU have attacked Lord Malloch-Brown as a "puppet for George Soros" and chief "Remoaner", while another group, Leave Means Leave, has launched a fundraising drive among supporters to "secure the swift, clean Brexit you all voted for".

The UK Best for Britain campaign, promoting the reversal of the UK withdrawal process from the European Union, has launched a motion for a new referendum on the Brexit final deal, according to organization's website.

Some politicians say any return of border controls could disrupt a peace agreement to reduce sectarian conflict in the north. "Over the past year, we have continued to push the Government on what needs to be agreed to "Keep Britain Trading" after Brexit".

Mr Thompson said HMRC had chosen to assess the potential impact by looking at the how many customs declarations there will be and the cost of that rather than as a percentage of the value of trade.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has complained that the Irish border issue is dictating "the whole of our agenda" in the UK's Brexit negotiations with the EU.

In his subsequent tweet, the European Union negotiator appeared to concede that Mrs May's proposal did not amount to a simple extension of the Commission scheme to cover the whole UK. "Why? Because it has been designed for the specific situation of Northern Ireland".

Should Britain's proposal be unworkable, European Union nations insist that a "backstop" remain in place to keep Northern Ireland within Europe's customs arrangements.

Theresa May has insisted the backstop customs proposal which triggered a Cabinet row would be time-limited - but refused to give a guarantee that it would not extend beyond December 2021.

Yesterday, Brexit secretary David Davis was, reportedly, threatening to resign over the wording of the government's proposal for a regulatory backstop if London and Brussels fail to strike a deal on the Irish border. It would have signed us up to the rules of the EU Customs Union (a central pillar of Brussels rule) if it was ever activated. But he also called the UK's approach to trade "fairly paradoxical" and said much work was needed before agreeing the terms of its exit from the bloc, set for March 2019.

Barnier said the two sides had made progress but that a lot remains to be done, particularly on three subjects which, he said, were "very serious for business and citizens". The current draft withdrawal agreement envisages a transitional period, ending on 31 December 2020, during which the United Kingdom would remain a member of the EU single market and customs union but would no longer participate in EU decision-making.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said it was clear Mrs May's proposals were unworkable, while Best For Britain chief executive Eloise Todd said the backstop plan was "dead on arrival".