By Estonian Foreign Ministry [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
David Davis, the Brexit secretary, is said to be sidelined in the discussions with the European Union after it was said that his former chief official is breaking protocol by holding discussions with the lead negotiator in Brussels.
Despite Davis being tasked with leading the exit of Britain from the European Union, The Times claimed that Oliver Robbins, his former permanent secretary, is effectively leading the said negotiations by directly dealing with Michel Barnier, the chief EU negotiator.
Even though the Department for Exiting the European Union called the idea of Davis being sidelined as being “wholly inaccurate,” they did not dismiss the idea that Robbins had held discussions with Barnier without the Brexit Secretary.
It is also said that Davis has only met with Barnier for a ‘couple of hours’ at the end of every negotiating session – with official numbers showing that he visited Brussels for just four days between the period of July and September.
In contrast, Robbins spent 18 days in discussions with negotiators from the European Union during this period – with some sources claiming that he was conclusively the principal British figure in striking the agreement regarding citizens’ rights and the divorce settlement that was finally revealed earlier this month.
Robbins was originally a part of the Department for Exiting the European Union, before joining the Cabinet Office to take on a role in a newly formed European Unit.
A spokesperson for DeXEu stated: ’This characterisation of the negotiations is wholly and “willfully” inaccurate.
“The Brexit secretary meets with his counterpart, Michel Barnier, at regular intervals to oversee the negotiations.
“In November they agreed their officials would maintain a constant dialogue, so it should be of no surprise that senior British civil servants press the UK’s case as set by the prime minister and Brexit secretary.”