Farewell Then, Sir Ivan Rogers

Sir Ivan Rogers, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, has quit ahead of schedule rather than stick around to help work on Brexit. A £170,000-a-year former Ken Clarke aide, Rogers is seen by some as a caricature of an arch-Eurocrat, though others in Brussels say this is an over-simplification. What is certain is that Rogers was an obstacle to David Cameron seeking proper reform of the EU during his renegotiation. As Tim Shipman reveals in his unrivalled referendum book All Out War, Cameron’s aides blame Rogers for blocking them from seeking a better deal on immigration and the ECJ:

‘We were too beholden to Tom Scholar and Ivan Rogers,’ one Cameron adviser said. ‘They were status quo. They were happy to take “No” for an answer, happy to believe things weren’t possible when they could be possible. I’ve lost count of the number of times Ivan threatened to resign.’ The politicos say Rogers was aggressive in dismissing their arguments, and went over their heads to Cameron: ‘He would send emails that were the stuff of legend, saying why didn’t we know anything? We were just politicos, we didn’t understand.’ Another aide said Rogers’ emails were ‘notorious’.

Rogers also clashed with the special advisers over their desire to include reforms of the European Court of Justice in the renegotiation. ‘Korski had a long-running battle with officials saying that we needed to do something, and he kept getting told that it was impossible to do something,’ a Number 10 source said. A range of proposals were put forward, ranging from new rules on the selection of judges to proposals for the EC] to get out of lower-level decisions. Their advocates believe the plan would have allowed Britain to get a serious review of the court on the agenda. It was rejected by officials over the summer.

In the end Cameron’s renegotiation strategy of asking for very little rather than demanding genuine reform was fatal. Rogers was instrumental in that, and since the referendum he has been sulking and saying it’ll take 10 years to come up with a trade deal. A chance now for someone less pessimistic and more ambitious to take over… 




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