THERESA May has resisted calls to install a hard-nosed Brexiteer as the country’s top EU diplomat, instead choosing the practical-minded Sir Tim Barrow, a former ambassador to Moscow, for the role.
Barrow replaces Sir Ivan Rogers, who resigned on January 3 after being savaged by pro-leave campaigners for suggesting that a formal Brexit settlement may take up to a decade to finalise.
The government has been keen to trumpet the quick appointment of Barrow as evidence that they are well prepared for the looming Brexit negotiations, expected to begin in March.
But EU officials reportedly sense anxiety in the hastiness of the decision. A discord between the civil service and executive has been suggested, while Rogers himself claimed that Britain lacked a competent negotiating team and a coherent strategy.
Taking up the role Barrow said: “I am honoured to be appointed as the UK’s permanent representative to the EU at this crucial time. I look forward to joining the strong leadership team at UKRep to ensure we get the right outcome for the United Kingdom as we leave the EU.”
Described as a ‘quintessential diplomat’ and a ‘seasoned negotiator’ Sir Barrow’s private position on Brexit is unknown but he is considered capable of getting stuck into the role, rather than bringing an air of ‘doom and gloom’ as his predecessor was accused of.
Naturally not everyone was happy with the appointment.
Nigel Farage tweeted “Good to see that the government have replaced a knighted career diplomat with…. a knighted career diplomat.