Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said the UK should be given another year to provide an alternative to the Irish backstop.
Speaking in Madrid he confirmed that Britain would not be able to meet EU demands for a workable proposal in time for the Brexit deadline.
“We are told the UK must provide legally operative text by the 31st October.
“Yet the alternative to the backstop is not necessary until the end of the Implementation Period in December 2020.
“And this will be shaped by the future relationship – which is still to be determined.
“In short why risk crystallising an undesirable result this November, when both sides can work together – until December 2020.
“In summary, the EU risks continuing to insist on a test that the UK cannot meet and that the UK Parliament has rejected three times.”
It comes after Emmanuel Macron and the Finnish presidency of the EU issued an ultimatum in Paris on Wednesday, giving Boris Johnson until the end of September to table workable proposals.
The UK is yet to meet EU requests to propose a concrete alternative to the Irish backstop, which Mr Johnson says must be scrapped.
EU officials fear they may be “led up the garden path” by British negotiators, who had been visiting the EU capital frequently for talks, but with little sign of actual progress.
A European Commission spokesperson on Thursday afternoon confirmed the UK had sent “some documents” to Brussels ahead of a visit by Mr Barclay to meeting with Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator, on Friday.
But a UK government spokesperson confirmed that the papers were not a concrete written proposal, telling reporters: “We will table formal written solutions when we are ready, not according to an artificial deadline”.
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