ANGELA Merkel has set Britain a “blistering timetable of 30 days” to come up with a solution to the Irish backstop or face crashing out of the EU without a deal.

Boris Johnson, standing beside the German Chancellor in Berlin on his first foreign trip as Prime Minister, accepted the challenge and said he was "more than happy" with her proposal to speed-up the talks, stressing the onus was now on Britain to come up with an alternative solution to the border issue.

Mrs Merkel, in a statement in the Chancellery, said the backstop had always been a "fallback position" and would only come into effect if no other solution could be agreed that would protect the "integrity of the single market".

In an attempt to have a backstop solution in place before the October 31 Brexit deadline, the German leader said she wanted a new arrangement agreed within 30 days.

She told reporters: "If one is able to solve this conundrum, if one finds this solution, we said we would probably find it in the next two years to come but we can also maybe find it in the next 30 days to come.

"Then we are one step further in the right direction and we have to obviously put our all into this," she added.

HeraldScotland: Camley's cartoon: Boris' Brexit bid.Camley's cartoon: Boris' Brexit bid.

Mr Johnson said what was needed was to remove the backstop in its entirety and then work on producing alternative arrangements.

"There are abundant solutions which are proffered, which have already been discussed. I don't think, to be fair, they have so far been very actively proposed over the last three years by the British Government,” claimed the PM.

Turning to Mrs Merkel, he said: “You rightly say the onus is on us to produce those solutions, those ideas, to show how we can address the issue of the Northern Irish border and that is what we want to do.

"I must say I am very glad listening to you tonight Angela to hear that at least the conversations that matter can now properly begin.

"You have set a very blistering timetable of 30 days; if I understood you correctly. I am more than happy with that," declared Mr Johnson.

He made clear he was optimistic an agreement could be struck.

"What in my experience happens is that people find a way through and that if we approach this with sufficient patience and optimism, as I say, we can get this done and it is in the final furlong generally when the horses change places and the winning deal appears."

After the press conference, the two leaders left to hold talks over dinner with the Chancellor telling reporters: "We need to get to work now."

Mr Johnson, who received a full official welcome in Berlin, will on Thursday travel to Paris for talks over lunch with President Emmanuel Macron.

After the press conference, a Downing Street source said the Government was happy with the tone of Mrs Merkel's exchange.

The Government was not briefed beforehand that Mrs Merkel would apply the "pressure" of a 30-day deadline but Mr Johnson's team is hopeful that it is an indication European leaders are preparing to renegotiate; an outcome the EU has previously ruled out.