Brexit department denies claims David Davis is being sidelined in EU talks
Claims that David Davis is being sidelined in Brexit negotiations are untrue, a source from within his department has said.
Brussels has been accused of troublemaking after reports emerged that the Brexit Secretary had been absent from high level meetings.
According to The Times, Michel Barnier, the EU’s lead negotiator, held talks with Oliver Robbins, Mr Davis’ former chief official, ahead of this month’s first-phase Brexit deal.
EU officials suggested to the newspaper that the Brexit Secretary's exclusion was an indication of his waning influence.
Another source said Mr Robbins’ involvement showed Theresa May was taking a more prominent role in the negotiations, ahead of Mr Davis.
“Oli reports to the PM and is doing the negotiating with Barnier and others on her behalf,” he said.
“She is the one taking the decisions and on several occasions told him that his proposed compromises were not acceptable.
“That may mean DD [David Davis] has had less of a role, but this process is still controlled by the politicians.”
However, a senior source at the Department for Exiting the European Union has since intervened, playing down the reports.
The source dismissed the rumours as an example of what Mr Davis called in his October party conference speech “offensive, indeed insulting, briefing to the newspapers, which I take as a compliment”.
Mr Robbins was previously a senior Whitehall official working in DExEU but transferred to No 10 earlier this year.
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