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Express: Theresa May sparks FURY after top Brexit mandarin behind Chequers deal given major bonus

Date: 23 07 2018

Theresa May sparks FURY after top Brexit mandarin behind Chequers deal given major bonus

THERESA May awarded her former chief Brexit adviser a whopping £20,000 bonus while working as the permanent secretary in the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) last year, Downing Street has confirmed.

Oliver Robbins, who served as the leading Brexit civil servant in DExEU until September last year, received a bonus of between £15,000 and £20,000, despite already receiving a salary of around £160,000.

John Longworth, co-chairman of Leave Means Leave, criticised the bonus, stating: “It is quite astonishing that the Government is rewarding someone for stalling Brexit and obstructing the result of the democratic EU referendum.

“What a complete waste of taxpayers’ money; there is absolutely no justification for it.”

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen also took direct aim at the Brexit official, and blamed Mr Robbins for capitulating on the UK’s Brexit negotiating position.

Speaking to PoliticsHome, he said: “Given the complete capitulation of the UK’s negotiating position overseen by Olly Robbins, I think it should be the EU paying his bonus, not the UK taxpayer.”

A Cabinet Office source nevertheless rejected criticism of Mr Robbins’s bonus, and stated that a “robust process” had been followed.

Speaking to the Telegraph, the source said: “There is a robust process across the civil service in relation to bonuses, which has been followed in this case.”

Downing Street also confirmed bonuses paid to permanent secretaries were ultimately approved by the Prime Minister, after being scrutinised by the Permanent Secretaries Remuneration Committee.

Mr Robbins departed DExEU last September and became the chief Europe adviser to Mrs May in Downing Street.

He played a key role in the development of Mrs May’s ‘soft’ Brexit model and White Paper which was unveiled at her crunch Chequers summit.

This compromise plan led to the resignation of former Brexit Secretary David Davis and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who accused the Prime Minister of failing to deliver on the will of the British public who voted for Brexit.

In a sign of the Prime Minister’s increasing control over the Brexit process, Mrs May stripped DExEU of 50 negotiators directly following Mr Davis’s resignation.

The move seriously hampers the new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s ability to chart the course of the future Brexit negotiations.

One Downing Street source commented on the move to The Sun, stating: “This is a sensible backroom shift that reflects the surge in negotiating intensity we have been seeking and allows us to achieve the best deal.”

Mr Raab has nevertheless pledged to increase the pace of the Brexit negotiations and work towards a final Brexit deal.

Speaking in Brussels on Thursday, he said: “I came out today to discuss the detailed proposals in our White Paper and I am looking forward to, with renewed energy, vigour and vim, looking at the details of this.

“I enjoyed meeting Michel Barnier discussing the progress we have made and the outstanding issues to resolve across the Withdrawal Agreement and the Future Framework.

“I’m looking forward to stepping up the pace and energy in our negotiations.”

July 20th, 2018: Express