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Robbie Gibb becomes Theresa May's Chequers priest

Robbie Gibb is director of communications at 10 Downing Street. Credit: Twitter/PA

The central message from Robbie Gibb to the nine Brexiter MPs he hosted at Downing Street on Monday night was "think about what you would have thought if the Chequers plan or something like it was on offer before the referendum; you would have taken that like a shot!"

Theresa May's director of Comms, who seems to have become rather more influential in Downing Street than any of his predecessors since Alastair Campbell - presumably partly because he is known to have Brexiter running through him like "Brighton" in that rock - also warned those assembled that the alternative to Chequers was a general election or referendum.

And surely none of those present - including Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Alister Jack, John Hayes, Daniel Kawczynski, Crispin Blunt, and Bernard Jenkin - would want that?

As for the Brexiters' preferred post-Brexit commercial relationship with the EU - a free trade deal modeled on Canada's - that would be impossible because it would not allow the border in Ireland to be kept open.

So Canada plus works for Britain but not for the UK, said Robbie.

Gibb is trying to push through the Chequers Brexit plan. Credit: PA

On Wednesday, the Brexiters of the European Research Group will endeavour to prove Robbie Gibb wrong on Ireland - they see the Ireland border issue as a canard that the Remainers in Whitehall and the Brussels establishment have invented to prevent true Brexit.

In the meantime, my sense is Gibb converted maybe half of those present. But not all.

Here is what one of his guests told me:

"We should push for Canada +++ model now for whole of UK and if EU refuse go to WTO terms saving £40 billion and ensuring we deliver what our constituents voted for."

Another said: "I can live with Chequers through gritted teeth - so long as she does not concede any more."

Has Gibb moved the dial in May's favour? Can he?

Too early to say. But it is striking Chequers is the boulder she has asked him to roll up that mountain.