European Union officials and diplomats were reacting to a London idea of "managed divergence", or "a three-basket approach", as Prime Minister Theresa May's government convened for a session to decide what sort of future relationship with the bloc it wanted.
The U.K. prime minister won the backing of her ministers to ask the European Union for the most ambitious and wide-ranging trade agreement the bloc has ever signed, after a marathon eight-hour meeting at her country house on Thursday. Before the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union, it had for years been one of the fastest-growing.
But pro-Europeans also insisted that the talks had gone well.
"I had a very good meeting with the rest of the cabinet sub-committee", Gove told Sky News on Friday.More news: Switch Owners will get an Outdated Version of Payday 2
One area where she has the best hope of getting a tailor-made deal is over law enforcement and counterterrorism.
Corbyn made his own position clear, speaking to journalists at a manufacturing conference earlier this week, saying he was in favour of a customs union - in part to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland.
The "right to diverge" would be overseen by a dispute resolution mechanism, imposing market access sanctions if either side tried to disrupt the level playing field.More news: Persimmon bosses bow to pressure and sacrifice millions in bonuses
More details of precisely what went on at the PM's country residence are likely to leak out during the day, while May herself will set out the Government's official negotiating position in a major speech at the end of next week.
The ex-attorney general added: "If the Government were defeated eventually on this, then the Government would, I would assume, be required to keep us, or seek to negotiate keeping us, in a customs union if that of course can be obtained from our EU partners".
Brussels has already rejected the hybrid model proposed at Chequers, a cross between a free-trade agreement and a Norway-style single market deal, arguing that Mrs May's red lines mean she will be offered no more than a Canada-style FTA.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt - who was not at the meeting - said the government will pursue a policy putting Britain outside a customs union with the EU but matching Brussels rules in certain sectors in an attempt to achieve "frictionless" trade.More news: Moon likely to meet N. Korean delegation to Olympics
The Chequers "away day" saw the inner Cabinet committee discuss the impact of Brexit on the automotive sector, agri-foods, digital trade, as well as the overall future economic partnership the United Kingdom is seeking to reach with the EU.