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UK Ambassador to the EU resigns

January 4, 2017 4:27 PM
By Joe Otten in Liberal Democrat Voice

Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK's ambassador to the European Union has resigned. Highly experienced and diligent, Rogers was expected to play a key role in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Nick CleggNick Clegg has commented

The resignation of somebody as experienced as Sir Ivan Rogers is a body blow to the Government's Brexit plans.

I worked for Ivan Rogers in the EU twenty years ago - then he worked for me and the rest of the Coalition Government several years later.

Throughout all that time Ivan was always punctiliously objective and rigorous in all he did and all the advice he provided.

If the reports are true that he has been hounded out by hostile Brexiteers in Government, it counts as a spectacular own goal.

The Government needs all the help it can get from good civil servants to deliver a workable Brexit.

Other reactions include

Tom Brake MP tweets

UK Govt loses its most experienced Brexit negotiator. More evidence that Govt is losing control rather than taking back control.

Catherine Bearder MEP tweets

A real loss that UKs most EU experienced diplomat leaves the stage before negotiations begin.What did do to try and keep him? Nothing?

In Comparison Nigel Farage tweets

I welcome the resignation of UK ambassador to Brussels, Ivan Rogers. The Foreign Office needs a complete clear out.

News, as opposed to comment, is slower in arriving, but it does seem clear that Rogers understood the EU only too well for the Brexiters' liking.

Nick Eardley BBC tweets

Confirmed: UK's EU ambassador Sir Ivan Rogers quits. He had warned Brexit trade deal could take as long as 10 years

This echoes comments by Gus O'Donnell that I linked to earlier today.

It is somewhat cruel and unusual for a civil servant to resign over a policy disagreement, and there is nothing to suggest that Rogers was not the model civil servant. This points us towards the conclusion that Rogers was put in an impossible position. This is the sort of thing that is bound to happen when a government is committed to an opinion of what the EU is that is fundamentally at odds with reality.

* Joe Otten is a councillor in Sheffield and Tuesday editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

Comments: UK Ambassador to the EU resigns