BORIS Johnson has been urged to rule out a no-deal Brexit by the North East England Chamber of Commerce, who have warned it would cause "significant harm" to the region.

Jonathan Walker​, assistant policy director at the chamber, said a no-deal exit from the European Union would not only hurt businesses in the short term, but would "significantly undermine our competitiveness in the long term".

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson said only an an "irresponsible government" would consider such a move.

In a statement, Mr Walker said: “As we continue to experience unprecedented political turmoil and continued uncertainty relating to Brexit, I wanted to reiterate the view of the North East England Chamber of Commerce that a no-deal outcome would cause significant harm to our region’s economy.

“The EU is the North East’s biggest trading partner. Our exporters rely on free and frictionless trade in order to operate in complex, fast-moving supply chains. The sudden dislocation, imposition of tariffs and instability created by No Deal would not only hurt businesses in the short term, but would significantly undermine our competitiveness in the long term.

“Over the past three years we have been clear and consistent: preserving the trading conditions and relationship we currently enjoy with the EU ought to be the primary objective of any Brexit outcome. Sadly, the Government’s willingness to embrace No Deal as an acceptable end to the Brexit negotiations flies in the face of this.

“We have written to the Prime Minister to make this argument and will continue to urge Government to rule out no-deal.

“This is a position that is regularly debated and reviewed by our regional Council and reflects the overwhelming majority of the feedback we receive from our members.

“We sincerely hope Parliament can find a way to resolve this impasse in a way that provides certainty, stability and avoids a disastrous no-deal exit.”

Mr Wilson said: "When you receive a letter from the region's chamber of commerce, which represents thousands of businesses in the North East saying a 'no deal Brexit' would be 'disastrous' it confirms what you already know.

"A no-deal Brexit wasn't on the ballot paper at the 2016 referendum and should not be contemplated now. If we were to leave the EU without a deal it would hit jobs in the North East, business competitiveness and prosperity.

"Only an irresponsible government would consider such a move. And Boris Johnson's government is proving to be just that."