Boris Johnson reacts as Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar dashes any hopes of ditching the ‘Irish backstop’ [Phil Noble/Reuters]

The UK parliament is set to shut down for five weeks on Monday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s talks with his Irish counterpart failed to make any headway on the issue at the heart of Brexit battles.

Johnson was in the Irish capital, Dublin, for talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar over the crucial issue of the “Irish backstop”.

Varadkar told Johnson he must make specific proposals on the future of the Irish border if there is to be any hope of averting a “no-deal” Brexit, saying Dublin cannot rely on simple promises. 

“The people of this island, north and south, need to know that their livelihoods, their security,

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