Theresa May to take personal control of Brexit talks with EU

She says it is “essential” that Government is "organised in the most effective way"

Theresa May to take personal control of Brexit talks with EU

British Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street, London, 24-07-2018. Image: Matt Dunham/PA Wire/PA Images

The British Prime Minister is taking personal control of Brexit negotiations with the EU.

In a written statement, Theresa May told the UK Parliament that it is “essential” that Government is organised in the most effective way as talks continue.

Up to now, the UK Brexit Secretary had taken the lead in the negotiations.

However, Dominic Raab, who was only appointed to the position on July 9th, will now “deputise” for Mrs May as needed.

Mr Raab was brought in to replace David Davis – who resigned his position in protest at Mrs May’s latest proposals for bringing the talks forward.

“It is essential that in navigating the UK's exit from the European Union, the Government is organised in the most effective way,” Mrs May said in her statement.

She said the UK Brexit office will continue to lead the UK Government’s Brexit domestic preparations while the Cabinet Office Europe Unit “overall responsibility for the preparation and conduct of the negotiations” with the EU.

 I will lead the negotiations with the European Union, with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union deputising on my behalf,” she said.

At his first meeting with Chief EU Negotiator Michel Barnier last week, Mr Raab said he was "looking forward with renewed energy, vigour and vim to looking at the detail of all of this."

"I'm looking forward to intensifying, heating up the negotiations and making sure we're in the best position to get the best deal," he said.

Mr Barnier said Mrs May’s latest proposals – published in a UK Government white paper – were in breach of the EUs founding principles and raised practical, legal, economic and budgetary questions.

He also warned that there will be no Withdrawal Agreement without a solution on the Irish border.

He said the agreement - due to be signed at the next EU Council Summit in October - is a "prerequisite" for an orderly withdrawal, the two year transition period and a "solid partnership for the future."

He said the agreement requires a “legally operative” backstop that will act as an “all-weather insurance policy” ensuring there will be no return to a hard border, whatever happens in the talks.