Michael Gove joined senior Labour party figures in holding talks about the failures of Brexit this week, it has been claimed.
The senior minister and prominent Brexiteer is said to have joined with frontbenchers from Sir Keir Starmer's party on Thursday and Friday at a country house in Oxfordshire for private discussions.
The group included shadow foreign secretary David Lammy and Lord Peter Mandelson among others.
Discussions took place at Ditchley Park in Oxfordshire PA
As source described the meeting as "constructive" when speaking to the Observer, who originally reported the story.
“The main thrust of it was that Britain is losing out, that Brexit is not delivering, our economy is in a weak position,” they said.
“It was about moving on from Leave and Remain, and what are the issues we now have to face, and how can we get into the best position in order to have a conversation with the EU about changes to the UK-EU trade and co-operation agreement when that happens?”
The talks were said to be about how "can we make Brexit work better with our neighbours in Europe?"
Sources close to Gove told the Observer he attended in a personal capacity as a governor of Ditchley Park where the meeting took place.
They said he did not discuss anything related to ongoing Brexit negotiations with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol or government policy.
Instead it focused on the economic difficulties since Brexit and how to best make the most of Britain's freedom from the bloc.
It comes amid mounting speculation that a deal is on the cards to reduce the red tape on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
David Lammy was among others in attendance Aaron Chown
On Friday, the Government and the EU reiterated their commitment to finding “joint solutions” to differences around the Northern Ireland Protocol which was agreed in 2019 as a way to unlock the logjam over securing a Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris met with leaders of parties in the province on Friday where he discussed progress in the talks.
The Northern Ireland Assembly is not currently sitting after the DUP pulled out of the power-sharing devolved executive in protest at the way the Protocol was being implemented.
This week the deadline for new elections to be held to get the Assembly up and running again was delayed.