BRUSSELS chiefs are plotting to torpedo Theresa May’s Brexit strategy in an extraordinary act of self-harm which will leave Britain unable to seal a trade deal with the bloc before its departure date.

In a bombshell move eurocrats want to seek a legal lock on discussions about the UK’s access to the single market, meaning that the issue cannot be brought up during the negotiations.

Instead they intend to ensure that the two-year period allowed for under Article 50 revolves around just two issues – their £50bn demand for an exit bill and the residency rights of EU citizens in the UK.

Senior EU Commission officials today said that the strategy was designed to stop the crucial issue of trade and tariffs dominating, and admitted it could leave negotiators facing months without anything to talk about.

But one eurosceptic source at the EU Parliament dismissed the move qas “all speculation” and said it had been leaked in an attempt to sow panic in Downing Street ahead of the triggering of Article 50 later this month.

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