Civil servant Olly Robbins is setting up a Brexit team outside DexEU


Robbins (second from right) and Davis have reportedly clashed (Source: Getty)

Senior civil servant Olly Robbins is setting up a team of Europe-focused specialists, pulling more resource away from David Davis' Department for Exiting the EU (DexEU). 

Robbins, who earlier this month moved from DexEU to Number 10, is in the process of pulling together a crack unit of around 20 people, to form a "a major Whitehall power base", Politico reported this morning

A spokesman for the Prime Minister told City A.M. the team was being established to support his work for Theresa May as EU adviser in the cabinet office. Staff will be brought in from DexEU, as well as other parts of government, he added. 

The move will consolidate more of the Brexit braun away from Davis' dedicated department under May and her deputy Damian Green, and comes amid rumours of a clash between Robbins and Davis during the critical negotiations about Britain's future relationship with the European Union. 

The fourth round of talks is currently underway in Brussels and chief negotiators Davis and Michel Barnier are expected to hold a press conference later today, in which they will confirm what progress has been made. 

It is hoped enough progress will have been made following Theresa May's big speech in Florence to enable the negotiators to move onto the second phase of discussions, namely trade and transition. However, leaders on the EU side have so far suggested not enough progress has been made

The City has warned that this must happen by the end of the year to avoid triggering contingency plans which could have far-reaching consequences for London's financial district.