ANTI-BREXIT protesters were out in force outside Boris Johnson's private Brexit talks with his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar.

The Prime Minister and the Taoiseach were holding a private meeting at Thornton Manor in a last-ditch attempt to break the deadlock ahead of the UK's European departure.

It is believed that Mr Johnson will hope to see concessions on the issue of the Irish backstop, the contingency measure to prevent a hard border on the island which has proved a persistent sticking point.

But with the crucial EU summit in Brussels starting in a week, the chance of the PM securing a new Withdrawal Agreement is looking increasingly unlikely.

It was intended that today's meeting would take place away from the media spotlight.

Yet protesters were out in force in the village of Thornton Hough with a banner adorned with: 'No majority, no morals, no mandate, grandmas against Boris' and stickers with 'Brexit is bonkers.'

Wirral Globe:

Picture taken from Leo Varadkar's Twitter feed showing the Taioseach meeting with Boris Johnson at Thornton Manor

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar released a joint statement after leaving talks at Thornton Manor.

The UK Prime Minister's Twitter account said: "The Prime Minister and Taoiseach have had a detailed and constructive discussion.

"Both continue to believe that a deal is in everybody's interest. They agreed that they could see a pathway to a possible deal. Their discussion concentrated on the challenges of customs and consent.

"They also discussed the potential to strengthen bilateral relations, including on Northern Ireland. They agreed to reflect further on their discussions and that officials would continue to engage intensively on them.

"Following their discussions the Taoiseach will consult with the Taskforce 50 and the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay will meet Michel Barnier tomorrow morning."

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern also took to Twitter to condemn the PM's decision to visit Wirral, she said: "The Prime Minister's meeting today is taking place just a few miles from Vauxhall Motors, Ellesmere Port and Airbus at Broughton.

"He should take a few minutes whilst he is here to explain to those who work there why he has put their livelihoods at risk with his No Deal.

"Whilst he is here, he could also do with explaining to people in New Ferry why their town centre is still in pieces, over two and a half years after the explosion that ruined it, and offering some kind of excuse to Wirral foodbank volunteers as to why - 10 years into a Tory Government- we still have people in Merseyside who are forced to beg for food.

"A situation that will be drastically worsened by his Brexit proposals.

"The Taoiseach is of course very welcome and I am sure that all in Wirral South constituency recognise and understand the historic and current contribution of the Irish community to Merseyside and the whole of the UK, and the friendship between our countries."

Mr Johnson must bring back a deal before October 19 if he is to avoid a clash over the Benn Act, which aims to prevent a no-deal departure.

The legislation orders the PM to ask for a delay to Article 50 until the end of January if MPs do not approve a deal before that date.

But he has repeatedly said he will not ask for a delay, while insisting that he will abide by the law.

Mr Johnson is planning an emergency Saturday sitting of Parliament following the summit, to be held on October 19, according to Government sources.

It is thought the PM could use the occasion to force a showdown with MPs determined to block a no-deal Brexit.