BORIS Johnson has revealed the UK Government's alternative Irish backstop plan in a bid to secure a last-minute Brexit deal with the EU. 

In a letter to President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Junker, the Prime Minister proposes an all-island regulatory zone on the island of Ireland which will cover all goods, including agri-food.

That means Northern Ireland, effectively, staying in the single market for goods, but leaving the customs union.

The Northern Ireland Assembly would have to approve the arrangements first and be able to vote every four years on whether to keep them.

While there would be checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, the UK would not apply further checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Ireland.

The government say that most of the checks that do need to be carried out would be done electronically, though they admit a small number of physical inspections would be needed, but that these would take place either at business premises or at points on the supply chain.

The government is also promising a "New Deal for Northern Ireland", with financial commitments to help manage the changes.

In his letter, Johnson says both London and Brussels will share the blame for failing to find an agreement: “This government wants to get a deal, as I’m sure we all do. If we cannot reach one, it would represent a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible.”The European Commission says it will "examine [the proposals] objectively".

Downing Street believes the "broad landing zone" set out by Johnson will be enough to secure an intense 10-day period of negotiations in the run up to the European Council due to start on October 17. 

A European Commission spokeswoman said they would examine the plans "carefully".

Despite the plan effectively putting a border in the Irish sea, the DUP said they supported Johnson's proposal.

They said: "This offer provides a basis for the EU to continue in a serious and sustained engagement with the UK government without risk to the internal market of the United Kingdom."