Theresa May signals intention to play a bigger role in Brexit negotiations

Theresa May EU press conference - REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The prime minister has transferred the top civil servant at the Department for Exiting the European Union to Downing Street, sending a signal that she’ll play a more direct role in Brexit negotiations as they enter a new phase.

Oliver Robbins will leave his post as permanent secretary of the Department for Exiting the EU to work closely with the prime minister in Downing Street. The move will allow Theresa May to dive even more-so into the details of negotiations, allowing her to have a greater control over what happens in Brussels.

He will remain the head of the negotiating team and will report directly to the prime minister, effectively giving her direct control over Britain’s day-to-day negotiating strategy – a role currently dominated by Brexit Secretary David Davis.

Prime Minister May has been surprisingly quiet since negotiations kicked off, only properly speaking out in big set events such as the Lancaster House speech, allowing the Department for Exiting the EU to take control.

But with negotiations at a standstill over the Brexit bill, the prime minister has concluded that a change of strategy is required and that she’ll need to be more involved.

When asked about the move, the prime minister said it’s a “sign of the negotiations entering into a more detailed and intense phase… a different structure will be put in place in terms of the running of the management of the Department for Exiting the European Union”.

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