Sir Ivan Rogers - 9 Lessons in Brexit


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INTERVIEWER: Once again, thank you very much for coming, Ivan; it's a great pleasure for me to have you here. We've been a little bit surprised here at the manner in which Mrs May has carried out this negotiation; we've been a bit surprised that very early on at the Conservative Party conference - and then at Lancaster House - she laid out red lines which were in a way, quite strict and quite severe. We were also a little bit surprised at the manner in which the Article 50 was put down so quickly; without, it seems, with any clear notions of where the British wanted to be at the end of the negotiation. It seemed to us a little bit that maybe they were not taking sufficient account of how difficult the negotiation can be with the European Union; I'd just like your thoughts on that.  

IVAN: Well, first of all it's a great pleasure to be here, a great honor to be invited, so thank you very much for inviting me; and as you say, very happy to sign copies of my book, available in all good book shops and plenty of bad ones, I'm sure.  

It's a very good and difficult question; the Prime Minister took office, we should remember, back in the summer of 2016, after a leadership election that turned into a coronation, because other competitors for the job - how do I put this - politely eliminated themselves or each other.  Therefore she was last person standing; and she inherited the job several weeks before we had all expected to arrive in early September.  

She took office at the most difficult time, I think really, for any British prime minister to take office since the Second World War, with the biggest challenge. I think those of us who are expert insiders knew that it was the most complex and difficult set of negotiations; after all, we've only had one of the negotiations and we haven't yet completed that - the withdrawal negotiation with the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration. The big and difficult negotiation is in my view still to come, which is part of what I say in the book.  

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