Jonathan Powell: Brexit talks will be a disaster if ministers appoint ‘patsy’ ambassador

Posted On: 
4th January 2017

Speaking to the Today programme, Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s former chief of staff, warned ministers against appointing a “patsy” as replacement for Sir Ivan Rogers, who yesterday quit as Britain’s ambassador to the EU.

“I think it’s really quite a big problem. Ivan worked with me in Number 10 Downing Street, he was principle private secretary when I was there, and he also worked for the Tories, he’d been on both sides. He’d worked for Ken Clarke, he’s worked with Tory and Labour governments. He has been a classic civil servant of being independent, he sets out his views in an unvarnished fashion in private but then implements what anyone wants. And for him to feel he can no longer set out his views honestly and frankly to ministers, that they aren’t prepared to argue back on this, is really very worrying. If they want to have someone who’s a patsy, who agrees with them then what is the point of having an independent civil service, which i...