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05 January 2017 - Sir Ivan Rogers resigns as UK's ambassador to the EU

Sir Ivan Rogers has gone, but his advice remains – the Government would do well to heed it
Editorial (The Independent, 03/01/2017)

If, as seems likely, Sir Ivan Rogers’ resignation as the UK’s ambassador to the European Union was “political” rather than personal, it suggests that the signs of disarray in the higher reaches of Government about the Brexit “plan” are indeed correct, with ministers, and perhaps No 10, refusing to accept impartial advice from a dedicated diplomat who tells it like it is. If ministers prefer to inhabit a fantasy world in which the European Union and its member states are prepared to allow the British to “have their cake and eat it”, and will shoot any messenger who brings them contrary news, then the prospects for successful negotiations are grim indeed. Sir Ivan was a man praised by everyone who worked with him, including the last Conservative Chancellor, George Osborne, as a pragmatic, shrewd and successful negotiator. Just the sort of chap, in other words, that Britain needs in Brussels at a time such as this. Even if his departure signalled nothing about what was happening in Whitehall and Brussels, his skills will be missed. As it is, it does appear to be symptomatic of a wider malaise in the process of extricating Britain from the European Union. Sir Ivan’s departure follows that of Jonathan (Lord) Hill, the UK's EU Commissioner, who quit after the vote in the summer. As of now, the Government has no published Brexit plan (though it has promised Parliament and, presumably, the Queen it will have one by the end of March), no top diplomat in Brussels and no trade negotiators to speak of. It is not a position of strength.
 
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'Brexit war machine'
 
After Ivan Rogers, Britain will still need friends in Europe – and diplomats
Simon Jenkins (The Guardian, 04/01/2017)
 
Brexit is the black hole of British politics, a place of dark matter, strange attractors and bent time. It has now sent Sir Ivan Rogers spinning, screaming into its void. People stop in the street and ask, “What can it all mean?”
Ambassador to EU quits and warns staff over 'muddled thinking'
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Rogers’ deftly publicised resignation as British ambassador to the EU was hardly shattering. Ostensibly, a disaffected official brings forward his retirement so that someone new can lead his country into the Brexit battle ahead. As he returns to Blighty, he pens advice to his colleagues for the imminent conflict: they should remember the regiment’s glory, speak truth to power, not hide bad news – the usual guff.

But this was no ordinary email. It was more fragmentary evidence in the enveloping gloom that is Brexit. First there was November’s “have cake and eat it” strategy memo spotted in Downing Street. Then there was the Deloitte leak, that “there is no plan”. Then a palace rumour held that when the Queen asked after Brexit, she was mysteriously told, “It means Brexit, Ma’am.” Now we have Rogers’ dark references to “ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking”. The riddle is wrapped in an enigma.

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'A serious loss'
 
Sir Ivan Rogers should be replaced by someone who is positive about Brexit
Telegraph View (The Telegraph, 03/01/2017)
 
It is a useful rule of thumb that if Nick Clegg and Peter Mandelson consider a particular event to be a potential disaster for the country then it will actually turn out perfectly well.

These two Jeremiahs were quick to interpret the resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK’s permanent representative to the European Union, in the bleakest terms. Mr Clegg, the former deputy prime minister, called it “a body blow to the Government’s Brexit plans”. Lord Mandelson said Sir Ivan’s departure “is a serious loss”.

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Sir Tim Barrow
 
Sir Tim Barrow: UK's new ambassador to EU 'tough negotiator'
UK Politics (BBC, 05/01/2017)
 
Senior diplomat Sir Tim Barrow has been appointed the UK's new ambassador to the EU, replacing Sir Ivan Rogers.

Downing Street described the former ambassador to Russia, who will now play a key role in the UK's Brexit talks, as a "seasoned and tough negotiator".

Sir Ivan, whose exit came earlier than planned, sparked a row after his resignation note criticised "muddled thinking" from ministers.

Some MPs had accused him of being "half-hearted" towards Brexit.

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Last update January 5, 2017
Créé le January 5, 2017
ISSN 2107-7029
DGESCO Clé des Langues