EU denies claims Theresa May’s Brexit plan is ‘dead in the water’ giving PM a LIFELINE

THE European Union has thrown Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit plan a lifeline by dismissing claims her proposals are “dead in the water”.

Brussels has today sought to play down claims that the EU’s leading Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told British MPs that the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan is “dead”.

Labour MP Stephen Kinnock claimed that Barnier said Mrs May’s proposals are unacceptable and questioned her understanding of the EU during a meeting with MPs in Brussels.

But responding to his comments, the European Commission today said there are “positive elements” to the Chequers plan despite outstanding “problems” that need to be resolved.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas urged people to wait for the official transcript of Monday’s behind-closed-doors meeting between Barnier and the Commons Brexit Committee.

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BREXIT TALKS: Michel Barnier is meeting with Dominic Raab in Brussels on Thursday

“Michel Barnier was very clear expressing the commission position on Chequers from the very first moment,” he said.

“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.”

Meanwhile, former Tory Cabinet minister Lord Tebbit has likened the EU to a “dictatorship” from which Britain must “break free”.

During question time in the House of Lords, Tebbit told peers Remainers must adjust to the idea “that the people of this kingdom are well capable of running their own affairs”.

He said: “We did it successfully for rather a long time before our friends on the continent got round to the idea [of establishing the EU].

“We have constantly over the centuries had to come to their rescue against dictatorships which have sprung up on the continent.

“This is another case of a dictatorship springing up on the continent from which we have to break free.”

The EU negotiator held talks with the Brexit select committee on Monday to discuss progress in the negotiations, making it “crystal clear” the Chequers plan was unacceptable, according to Kinnock.

During exchanges in another Commons committee with Raab, Kinnock insisted Brussels had spiked the plans.

Mr Kinnock said: “I can tell you absolutely, unequivocally, without a shadow of a doubt that Chequers is dead in the water.”

“We identified where there were positive elements [of the Chequers plan]”

European Commission

But Schinas suggested Barnier may have been misunderstood by both parties in the private meeting.

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.”

Barnier and Rabb are meeting today in Brussels, where they are expected to work towards finding “common ground” between the European Council’s guidelines and the Chequers plan.

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