Just a day after Sir Ivan Rogers’ resignation as Britain’s ambassador to the EU, his successor has been named as Sir Tim Barrow. Currently political director at the Foreign Office, Barrow is a career diplomat who is a former ambassador to Russia with significant experience of Brussels.
Speaking on LBC, Rogers’ old boss Charles Crawford, a former British diplomat critical of the EU, says that Barrow will be a popular choice with the Foreign Office. He adds that Barrow will be ‘fearless’ in putting to ministers the choices ahead:
‘If you have to choose someone for this job, he is — given where we are — as good as it gets at the moment. He will get on with people because he’s charming. But he’s not soft, he’s not someone who’s going to dither.’
While some will no doubt be disappointed that the Prime Minister has appointed a figure from the civil service rather than a Brexiteer for the role, it’s a savvy move from May. After Rogers’ resignation note accused the government of ‘muddled thinking’ over Brexit, she has swiftly brought the incident to a close. What’s more by appointing a respected diplomat, May has shown that, despite reports to the contrary, Ivan Rogers is not irreplaceable — there are other (perhaps more loyal) public servants with sufficient knowledge of the EU for the months and years that lie ahead.