The European Commission has played down reports that Michel Barnier said the Chequers plans were “dead”, arguing that the EU's chief negotiator had found "positive elements" to the proposals.
Yesterday Labour MP Stephen Kinnock revealed that during private talks Barnier had declared the proposals "dead in the water", claiming he had made it "crystal clear that Chequers is completely unacceptable to the EU".
His claims, which came during a hearing with Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, were batted away by the Cabinet minister, but Remain-backing Kinnock was bolstered by Eurosceptic Bill Cash, who said Chequers should be "put out of its misery".
Today, Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas urged reporters to wait for the release of the transcript of what was said at the Barnier meeting to find out if his views had been accurately reported.
Shinas said: "Michel Barnier was very clear expressing the commission position on Chequers from the very first moment.
"I don’t think that people present in the room and beyond the room have any doubt on what we said on Chequers – we identified where there were positive elements and we discussed also the possibility for further discussions to address issues that still create problems.
He added: "Let’s wait for the transcript and then let’s check the sort of things that are reported of what Michel Barnier said against what he actually really said."