Civil service chief launches furious salvo at ‘shameful’ Brexiteers over calls for May’s EU negotiator Olly Robbins to be sacked
- Acting Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill made a rare public intervention today
- He defended the PM’s EU adviser Olly Robbins against fierce Brexiteer attack
- Robbins is leading the negotiations with Brussels at the officials level
The boss of the Civil Service launched a furious attack on ‘shameful’ Brexiteers criticising a senior official today in a rare public statement.
Mark Sedwill, the acting Cabinet Secretary, launched a staunch defence of Olly Robbins, the Prime Minister’s EU adviser who is leading negotiations with Brussels.
The unusual statement – made in a letter to The Times – is thought to have been personally signed off by Theresa May.
Mr Robbins has been furiously criticised by Brexit supporting MPs who believe he is pushing Mrs May to the softest possible deal with Brussels.
The boss of the Civil Service Mark Sedwill (file image) launched a furious attack on ‘shameful’ Brexiteers criticising official Olly Robbins in a rare public statement
Mr Robbins (pictured in Westminster in July) has been furiously criticised by Brexit supporting MPs who believe he is pushing Mrs May to the softest possible deal with Brussels
He has also been targeted by vicious anonymous briefings to the press, including The Times last week which branded him ‘Rasputin’.
Mr Sedwill wrote a formal letter to the paper praising Mr Robbins’ ‘extraordinary dedication and professionalism’.
He blasted: ‘The anonymous sources on whose sniping it also draws should be ashamed of themselves, especially in a week when another senior civil servant reported having been threatened because of comments about Brexit implementation.
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‘This has to stop. Civil servants have always trusted that our fellow citizens, whatever their views, know that we are doing our duty to implement the decisions of the governments they elect.’
Tory MP Michael Fabricant (file image) told MailOnline Mr Sedwill and other senior civil servants should ‘look to themselves’ for why they were being criticised
Tory MP Michael Fabricant told MailOnline Mr Sedwill and other senior civil servants should ‘look to themselves’ for why they were being criticised.
He said: ‘While I appreciate that vilifying civil servants is undesirable, there is some evidence that the political naivety of the civil servants negotiating team is damaging Brexit progression.
‘Only on Sunday when Dominic Raab and Geoffrey Cox had to intervene to stop civil servants from agreeing an unworkable EU solution unacceptable to Parliament and the British public.
‘Top civil servants need to look to themselves rather than bleating in the press.’
Mr Robbins, who Mrs May appointed as her personal Brexit adviser last year, helped draw up the Chequers strategy, which is threatening to split her party.
Last month he assured the PM that EU leaders thought her Brexit plan was a ‘game changer’. He indicated that his attempts to sell the proposals to the remaining EU 27 member states had been a success.
Theresa May (pictured yesterday in London) appointed Mr Robbins as her personal Brexit adviser last year, helped draw up the Chequers strategy, which is threatening to split her party
The wholesale rejection of the Chequers blueprint at the Salzburg summit in September – just over a week before the Tory party conference – will make the PM’s job even more difficult.
As a furious Mrs May returned to London, pressure was mounting on the man she trusted to be her ‘eyes and ears’ in Brussels.
Mr Robbins, 43, joined her team a year ago as part of a move by Number 10 to exert more control over the Brexit negotiations.
He repeatedly clashed with then Brexit secretary David Davis, and was said to have suggested that he should be the opposite number to Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator.
In evidence to MPs last month, Mr Robbins refused to say whether he believed leaving the EU would be a ‘good thing’.
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