Former EU ambassador Sir Ivan Rogers “couldn't be trusted” by ministers says Iain Duncan Smith

Mark Sands
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Rogers (right) quit as the UK's ambassador to the European Union yesterday (Source: Getty)

Senior Conservative Iain Duncan Smith has branded Britain's former ambassador to the EU "untrustworthy", a day after his sensational resignation.

Sir Ivan Rogers quit yesterday, writing an email to staff which accused the government of “muddled thinking” on Brexit.

Speaking on the Today programme this morning, Duncan Smith linked that leaked email to previous reports of Rogers warning it could take 10 years to negotiate a trade deal with the EU.

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That warning was first revealed by the BBC in mid-December, although it has never been attributed to a leak from Rogers directly.

“It gets to a point when a civil servant starts to go public on staff that you, as minister, can no longer trust that individual. You must have absolute trust and cooperation and you cannot have this stuff coming out publicly. This is now the second time,” Duncan Smith said.

“It may actually prove that ministers might well be right to say that they weren't prepared perhaps to trust him in quite the way they would have done with others. There are plenty of other civil servants who didn't behave like this.”

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Rogers' resignation yesterday has led to calls for him to be replaced by a pro-Brexit diplomat, but speaking on the same programme, the former head of the foreign office Sir Simon Fraser said ambassadors should be appointed on the basis of knowledge, rather than their beliefs.

“What we need in Brussels is somebody who has experience, who's going to be a real professional negotiator, who will be sitting in a room with lots of other very experienced and knowledgeable negotiators, and who will be able to to hold his or her own in that negotiation,” Fraser said.

“We have someone leading this negotiation who believes in Brexit, and that is David Davis, that is the role of the minister.

“The role of the ambassador and the civil servants is to give clear, dispassionate, objective advice.”

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