BORIS Johnson new Brexit proposals have been “designed to fail,” according to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The plan, unveiled yesterday afternoon, shortly after the Tory leader’s speech to party conference, is much the same as Theresa May’s failed Brexit deal, but without the Irish backstop.

Instead Johnson suggests Northern Ireland remains in regulatory alignment with the EU, effectively staying in the single market, while, at the same, time leaving the customs union, meaning checks on goods coming from the south to the north.

The Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the plan did not “fully meet the agreed objectives of the backstop”.

However, in a boost for the Tory leader the proposals were not immediately knocked back by Brussels.

In his letter to the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister insisted the Government wanted a deal.

But, he warned, if there could be no agreement, both sides would need to take the blame. “If we cannot reach one, it would represent a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible,” he said.

Johnson said his two border approach wouldn’t mean any new physical infrastructure as checks can take place in business premises or “other designated locations which could be located anywhere in Ireland or Northern Ireland”.

It also hands the Northern Irish assembly a veto. They’ll be asked to back the measures first and then every four years on keeping them in place.

In his letter, Johnson said the proposals were the “broad landing zone in which I believe a deal can begin to take shape”.

In a staggering softening of their position, the DUP have said they will support the Prime Minister’s proposals. That could be in part because of Johnson’s promise of a “New Deal” for Northern Ireland which could see billions of Whitehall cash heading to the province to “help boost economic growth and Northern Ireland’s competitiveness, and to support infrastructure projects, particularly with a cross-border focus”.

A DUP spokesman said: “The 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. It will require changes to the draft withdrawal treaty and we welcome the fact that all sides now recognise that requirement in order to secure agreement.”

The DUP are, however, the only party in Northern Ireland to support the Johnson plans.

Sinn Fein, the UUP, the SDLP, and the Alliance have all blasted the proposals.

So too have business leaders.

Tina McKenzie, chair of the Federation of Small Businesses for Northern Ireland, said: “All the promises of unfettered access have been abandoned.”

“Northern Ireland is a small business economy and this is a death knell for some of those businesses.”

Aodhan Connolly, the director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, agreed: “This will lead to complexity, delays, tariffs, VAT and cost rises that will make NI goods less competitive and squeeze our household budgets. The measures are predicated on intrusive surveillance which will put a burden on business and be disruptive for border communities. In short these proposals are unworkable and unpalatable.”

Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Fein’s leader in Northern Ireland, said Johnson was “playing to the gallery of Tory party and playing fast and loose with Good Friday Agreement”.

Juncker said the proposals were problematic, but that they would continue negotiations: “We must have a legally operational solution that meets all the objectives of the backstop,” he said.

In a tweet, Sturgeon said: “Hard to see how the UK Government Brexit ‘proposals’ fly. And hard to escape conclusion that they’re designed to fail.

“For Scotland, the fundamental point remains - these proposals would take us out of the EU, single market and customs union against our will.”

Jeremy Corbyn said Johnson “knows full well that what he’s put forward is unlikely to be approved".