EUROPE’S top Brexit negotiator still doesn’t know why the UK is quitting the EU, Nigel Farage claimed yesterday after meeting with Michel Barnier.

The former Ukip leader met with Barnier in Brussels yesterday, claiming to represent the 17.4 million Leave voters who were being sold out by the Tory government.

Farage, who campaigned during the referendum on a pledge to close borders and reduce immigration, was furious to learn that the EU’s man believed Brexit was a result of promises over NHS spending.

“Mr Barnier clearly did not understand why Brexit happened,” Farage said in an official statement after the meeting, which lasted about 40 minutes.

“I left with the impression that it has not been previously explained to him that the Brexit vote was primarily about controlling mass immigration and democratic self-determination,”

Farage had written to Barnier in October requesting the meeting, saying that he wanted to speak for voters “who did not vote for a transition deal or any further delays.”

Margaritis Schinas, the EU Commission spokesperson, said the two men had discussed “the state of play” of the Brexit negotiations.

She added: “We don’t negotiate with MEPs, we negotiate with the British Government”.

Farage had asked the public for questions to put to Barnier. The three suggested were “Does Michel Barnier understand why Britain voted for Brexit?”, “What happens to the EU’s economy if there’s no trade deal with Britain?”, and “How does Michel Barnier view mass immigration into the EU coming across the Mediterranean and elsewhere?”

After the meeting Farage told Sky News that the most “illuminating” question had been the first, saying: “[Barnier] rather takes the view ... it was because people had been promised a lot of money for the health service.

“What he really didn’t understand at all was that open-door immigration within the EU had been an absolute key driver of this.

“The most disappointing thing is that it’s pretty clear in the talks that have happened so far that immigration hasn’t even been discussed. We haven’t even begun to talk about how we’re going to put some proper controls in place.”

James McGrory, executive director of anti-Brexit group Open Britain, said: “Sending Nigel Farage to Brussels to sort out Brexit is like sending an arsonist to put out a house fire.”

Not all of the questions suggested to Farage by the great British public were entirely serious.

One Twitter used hoped the ex-Ukip leader would ask Barnier: “How do we avoid paying Farage his pension?”