Dublin — Boris Johnson on Monday signalled a retreat from his hardline Brexit position on the Irish border, as he admitted that a no-deal departure by Britain from the EU would be a “failure of statecraft” that would damage both the UK and Ireland.

The British prime minister confirmed he would be willing to see agriculture and food treated as part of an “all-Ireland economy” based on EU rules after Brexit, in a move aimed at ensuring no health checks on produce passing over the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

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