A senior UK negotiating official describes the latest talks as “relatively more constructive than you might expect”.

Downing Street is calling for “more realism” from the EU in trade negotiations but believes a post-Brexit trade deal is still possible despite a tumultuous week.

The EU had threatened legal action against the UK and told Mr Johnson to ditch proposed legislation by the end of the month.

But the government refused to budge and claimed its UK Internal Market Bill is “critical” to ensuring the unfettered access for goods from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK.

Meanwhile, discussions on a future trade deal continued to stall, with both the UK and EU chief negotiators reporting there are still “significant” differences in key areas at the conclusion of the eighth round of negotiations this week.

However, Downing Street on Friday insisted a UK-EU trade deal could still be struck.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We have engaged constructively with the EU throughout this process.

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