IRELAND COULD face food shortages and more significant economic downturn than any suffered by the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
That's according to leaked government papers seized by The Times.
According to the papers obtained by the news outlet, leaving the EU without a deal would result in a five per cent drop in GDP for the UK.
However, by comparison, Ireland would suffer a seven per cent drop in GDP.
The papers state that this is because Ireland has "a more open economy than the UK, accounting for 60 per cent of GDP comprised of goods imports and exports, as opposed to 40 per cent for Great Britain".
The leaked documents are now being seized upon by cabinet ministers and Brexiteers hoping the contents could be used by Theresa May to help persuade Ireland to ditch the current plans for a "backstop" on any deal.
The backstop is seen as a last resort in place to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland in the event the UK leaves the EU without an all-encompassing deal in place.
Under the current system, all goods and services are traded between the two jurisdictions of Ireland with few in the way of restrictions.
However, the general opinion of most Brexiteers is that the backstop is restrictive and unnecessary and could leave the UK locked into an indefinite customs arrangement that would prohibit trade deals with other countries.
It would leave Northern Ireland aligned to the rules of the customs union if no other workable solution is reached.
Speaking to The Times, Tory MP Priti Patel argued the leaked findings should have been used as leverage to encourage Ireland to drop the backstop.
She called on the government to return to Brussels and renegotiate a better deal.
The suggestion has been widely condemned online with Ex-Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop among those to hit out at Patel's suggestion.
Blenkinsop, who served as a member of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee and is of Irish descent, said: "As a descendent of people fleeing county Mayo, it amazes me that these expensively educated brexiteers have literally learned nowt about the history of these very isles."
Labour MP Lisa Nandy also hit out at the idea stating on Twitter that “Threatening Ireland with food shortages isn’t “leverage”. It’s morally reprehensible”.