3rd January 2017
The announcement today of the resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers as the UK’s ambassador to the EU is significant.
Coming just weeks before the planned Article 50 notification, the resignation is a setback on any sensible view.
During the run up to the notification, when the government (we are told) is finalising its negotiation strategy, the UK is likely not to have a lead negotiator in place in Brussels, let alone one helping shape the Brexit strategy.
Whatever one’s view of Brexit, this cannot be a good thing.
Some are seeking to dismiss the resignation as being of no importance.
A few are taking comfort from Rogers being the one who led the botched Cameron negotiation before the referendum.
The Cameron negotiation was, of course, doomed from its inception.
There was no surprise that the big demands got nowhere and the small concessions gained were soon forgotten.
The fault of that botched exercise lay with the lack of realism of the Cameron circle (who then tried to blame Rogers and others) and not with those who pointed out the problems.
If you look at the detail of what happened in the Cameron “deal” then you will see vindication for Rogers and others who warned of the problems.
Cameron went to Brussels to demand the impossible, and had no back-up plan if things did not go as he hoped.
And May is about to do exactly the same.
The UK is not bound to make a bad deal in exiting the EU. Few things are impossible in human affairs.
But the loss of Rogers (and his cautious realism and knowledge of those involved) makes a bad deal more likely, especially at this point in the negotiation preparations.
The inevitable effect of the resignation is that the negotiation preparations will now take place without the involvement of the person who will lead the UK side in the negotiations.
For email alerts for my posts at Jack of Kent, the FT and elsewhere, please submit your email address in the “Subscribe” box on this page.
Regular blogging at Jack of Kent is made possible by the kind sponsorship of Hammicks Legal Information Services.
Please click on this link to Hammicks and have a browse.