BREXIT chief negotiator Michel Barnier says he hasn’t completely rejected Theresa May’s Chequers plan, but admits that it contains elements “unacceptable” to Brussels.

The comments were made on Monday, when the Frenchman met with Westminster’s Exiting the EU Committee.

During the week, the Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, who sits on the committee, had insisted that Barnier said the plans were “dead”.

But the official translation, released yesterday, showed that he had in fact said: “In the White Paper there are lots of positive things, lots of useful things, just to make that absolutely clear.

“I did not just reject the White Paper outright; that is just not true. I hope that you will understand that.”

However, he made clear Brussels will not accept the key principle of May’s proposals, that the EU and the UK share customs arrangements, and a free trade area with a common rulebook for goods but not services.

Barnier said: “The proposals made in the White Paper on two points are not acceptable as they are, they are not acceptable to the EU – that is the White Paper proposal on customs and the White Paper proposal on the common rulebook for goods.”

The plan suggests that the UK could carry out customs checks on its borders on the EU’s behalf. This Barnier said, was not “workable”.

However, he seemed confident the two sides could find a compromise sooner rather than later. Asked if thought the deal could be ready by the looming deadline of the October 18 European Council summit, he told MPs: “We might need a few extra days. I have always said that give or take a day or a week, the essential thing to do is to get a good result, even if it takes a few days longer.”

Brexiteer Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg told him that the “divorce bill” of around £40 billion, aleady agreed by the government, would not get through the Commons unless the EU offered up a mouth-watering trade deal.

Barnier told him there was “no question” that the UK could go back on the financial settlement it had

already promised to pay.

“That figure is settlement for the past. You want to leave the European Union. That is your decision, so we settle the accounts.”

Barnier said he hoped Britain did well from Brexit, but he sounded less than hopeful.

“We will see in a few years’ time where we are, where the advantages and disadvantages are,” said Barnier. “We will see by then whether it is better to have a common trade policy or to go it alone. We will see then.

“I hope you do well. I hope you are successful, quite frankly, but I think myself in negotiating with Mr Trump, in negotiating with the Chinese, it is better to be in a big group and to be sitting on a big single market and a common trade policy ... In today’s world I think it is better to be strong together when it comes to negotiating with the other major powers that are not going to wait for us.”

Meanwhile, Brexiteer Boris Johnson has joined the single market after wife Marina left the philandering former Foreign Secretary over news of yet another extra marital affair.

In a statement, issued to the Press Association via a family friend, the pair said they had decided several months ago that “it was in our best interests to separate”.