London’s Brexit Conundrum: Frustrated UK Ambassador to the EU Resigns

Written by | Friday, January 6th, 2017

The UK’s ambassador to the European Union, Ivan Rogers, has resigned amidst his frustration with the Brexit process. His decision is a major blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts as she is preparing to trigger Article 50 and officially start the divorce from the EU. Mrs. May promised to submit the EU a formal notice of the UK’s withdrawal before the end of March, thus launching two years of negotiations. Mr. Rogers had been expected to play a key role in the talks as an experienced negotiator and his resignation complicates things for the British cabinet.

Instead, Mr. Rogers wrote an email to the personnel at the British mission in Brussels, saying that the UK’s negotiating experience is “in short supply“ in the government and even said that the servants did not know the government’s goals. He expressed hope that his colleagues would “continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power”. The email also said that she “(hopes) that you will support each other in those difficult moments where you have to deliver messages that are disagreeable to those who need to hear them”.

It has been reported that Mr. Rogers warned UK ministers about a fortnight ago that a Brexit agreement with the EU could even take ten years to finalize and it could be rejected by other EU parliaments. The UK’s government has not commented on Mr. Roger’s email or decision but Arron Banks, chairman of pro-Brexit pressure group Leave, said that Mr. Roger’s resignation actually paved the way for the appointment of an ambassador “who is optimistic about the future that lies ahead for Brexit Britain.”

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