Brussels will 'consider' a request by the UK to extend the grace period allowing sausages to be sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, the European Commission has said.

The 'sausage war' broke out between Boris Johnson and EU leaders after Brussels refused to budge on trading rules that he himself agreed as part of his Brexit deal.

The grace period allowing chilled meats to cross the Irish Sea under the terms of the Brexit deal is due to expire at the end of the month.

Under the PM's 2019 Northern Ireland Protocol, many British goods crossing the Irish Sea west to Northern Ireland must undergo EU checks or fulfil EU rules.

This was designed to avoid a damaging "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic - but has instead created a border in the Irish Sea.

It means there will be a total ban on British "chilled meat preparations", including sausages, travelling to Belfast once a grace period expires on June 30.

The UK has asked for that period to be extended until the end of September - and Boris Johnson has already threatened to extend the grace period without the EU's permission.

"The commission has already indicated its openness to finding solutions in line with the Protocol," a statement issued by Brussels said.

"However, for that to happen, the UK must fully implement the Protocol, which is the solution found to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement, the functioning of the all-island economy and the integrity of the EU's single market. There is no alternative to the Protocol."

Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic will seek to arrange talks with Brexit minister Lord Frost and his team to discuss the request.