Irish sandwich king Patrick Coveney says Chequers 'satisfactory' way to avoid Brexit 'abyss'

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Chequers could avert a no deal - which risks food shortages, Coveney said (Source: Getty)

The boss of sandwich giant Greencore - and brother of the Irish deputy prime minister - has backed Theresa May's Chequers proposal as a "pretty satisfactory" solution to Brexit. 

Patrick Coveney, who runs Britain's third largest food firm, told a British Chambers of Commerce meeting in Dublin this morning that the UK's approach would be hard to secure, but was the only viable option on the table to prevent the country falling into the "abyss". 

"I think Britain is at a pretty fragile place on the topic right now, and probably the sort of best working compromise which the Chequers proposal is probably a pretty satisfactory way through this in some form or another if it can be delivered," he said.

Coveney, whose brother Simon is thought to be sympathetic towards May's approach, noted that across the Irish Sea, his industry had become "strongly intertwined over many generations"  and he feared stalled discussions over tariffs could result in food being left rotting at borders. A no deal could result in weeks, if not months, of food shortages, he warned. 

But he noted that May was “under siege" from both "hard core Brexiters" and "hard core Remainers". He noted that former education secretary Justine Greening had blasted Chequers as "somewhat more unpopular than the poll tax”.