Raab to play deputy’s role on Brexit as PM confirms: I’m in charge
THERESA MAY has been accused of ‘sidelining’ her new Brexit secretary as she announced she is taking personal control of EU withdrawal negotiations.
The prime minister told MPs yesterday that Dominic Raab will be ‘deputising’ for her in talks.
Civil servants working on the negotiations will be brought together in the Cabinet Office Europe Unit headed by Olly Robbins — who reports to Mrs May — while Mr Raab’s Department for Exiting the EU will focus on preparations for life after Brexit.
Labour said Mr Raab had ‘not even had the chance to get his feet under the table’ after just 15 days in the job, while the Leave Means Leave campaign said Mr Robbins had ‘seized control’ of the process — guaranteeing that Brexit would be ‘in name only’.
But Mr Raab rejected suggestions that his department had been downgraded, describing the move as a ‘shifting of the Whitehall deckchairs’. He said he had agreed to the changes on the day he was offered the job following David Davis’s resignation.
‘The prime minister suggested it to me,’ Mr Raab told MPs. ‘We had a very sensible conversation about the crossroads of the negotiations we are in, some of the tensions that were widely reported.’
Mr Raab said he and Mrs May discussed having a ‘clear chain of command that would put us in the very best professional position to get the best deal’.
He let slip details of the new arrangements in the Commons last week before Mrs May spelt out how the change will work in a written statement to MPs.
Downing Street confirmed that it will be Mr Raab who travels regularly to Brussels for direct talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
Leave Means Leave co-chair Richard Tice said: ‘Mr Robbins has been trying to seize control of negotiations for months and he has finally succeeded.
‘This is devastating news to the 17.4million people that voted to leave the EU.’
July 24th, 2018: Metro