The European Commission is drawing up a multibillion-pound aid package for Ireland to offset the economic damage of a no-deal Brexit, The Times understands.

The bloc would “spend whatever was necessary” to support the Irish government through any disruption of trade, a senior EU diplomat said.

European leaders have privately told Boris Johnson that he risks scuppering any prospect of averting a no-deal Brexit by making “totally unrealistic” demands over the Irish backstop.