Hillary Benn rounds on David Davis for cutting short parliamentary Brexit grilling

Downing Street insists Theresa May is sticking with plans to leave the customs union

Staying in the trading bloc also risks a domestic political crisis as Brexit backers in May's Cabinet have long said that being able to strike new trade deals independently from the European Union is a major benefit of Brexit.

The UK government - which did manage to strike a deal yesterday with the Welsh administration - has until 5pm today to table Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill in a bid to placate their Scottish counterparts, and Davis said ministers were "still talking to the Scottish government" in a bid to resolve the dispute.

The Brexit secretary added that option C regarding the Irish border, regulatory alignment, was a "reserve parachute".

There is no doubt that he was made very welcome during his two-hour trip to the border alongside Co-Operation Ireland chief executive Peter Sheridan and hopefully he will now have a better understanding of the concerns of people in the region. We will underpin the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement and all the elements of it and we will come up with a mechanism which will enable that to happen at the border.

Brexit coordinator of the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt reiterated that Davis' boss, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, has been adamant that the UK would not remain in a customs union with the EU.

The defeat - over ensuring the political, social and economic rights protected by the European charter of fundamental rights are replicated in British law - follows a vote by the Lords that challenged May's plan to leave the customs union, which increased pressure on the prime minister to reconsider.

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Downing Street insisted the Government's position had not changed since Mrs May delivered her Mansion House speech in March. "I think that really won't do, because part of your responsibilities is to appear before the select committee and be accountable to parliament".

"We are determined to get this agreed by October".

Nigel Dodds (left) led the condemnations for Mr Davis' lack of forewarning.

Mickey Brady, Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh, accused Mr Davis of avoiding a meeting with him because he is "afraid to face the truth about Brexit".

Mr Davis has been on particularly weak ground in terms of his attitude to the border, which he has been widely criticised for not visiting even though it represents a major stumbling block in the Brexit negotiations.

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