The Irish Government's Europe Minister, Helen McEntee, said Dublin would "absolutely not" accept the reopening of the UK's Withdrawal Agreement.

Despite the Commons voting for an "alternative arrangement" to replace the backstop, Ms McEntee told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are 72 hours on and not only do we not have any proposals, but your own secretaries have admitted that they don't have any and that there is no solution here."

She said proposed technological methods for keeping the border open were "not the answer", telling Today: "This is about protecting a peace process ... No amount of technology can address that."

Ms McEntee said: "This was a deal that was negotiated with the UK, by the UK. They weren't bystanders in a separate room, there were discussions, negotiations, there were compromises on both sides.

"The fact that we now have a deal that took that long to be negotiated and that deal has now been voted against by the very Prime Minister that negotiated it is extremely difficult."

She said a UK request to extend the two-year Article 50 negotiation process would "most likely" be approved by the EU27.

But she added: "At the same time, I think there would be a very clear ask from the other member states as to what exactly it is we are trying to achieve.

"There is no point in looking for an extension if we end up back to the same place in three months' time. We need to have a clear direction from the UK Government as to what it is we want to achieve."

Ms McEntee said Ireland's deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, is expected to discuss Brexit's impact on the Good Friday Agreement with the US Government during a visit to Washington next week.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has become the latest Cabinet minister to suggest Brexit may need to be delayed if there is not time to pass the relevant laws before March 29.

Speaking in Westminster, Dr Fox said: "There would be a huge difference between an extension to Article 50 because we hadn't reached an agreement, or a short delay because we had reached an agreement and needed the legislation to implement it...

"We can get our domestic legislation through if we quickly reach an agreement with the European Union and that's in everyone's interest."