LONDON — David Davis demanded an RAF plane to take him to Brexit negotiations across Europe, but was repeatedly blocked by his most senior civil servant.
The Brexit secretary fell out with Oliver Robbins, the former permanent secretary in the Department for Exiting the European Union, after he blocked Davis’s request to use the RAF, The Times reported.
Davis appealed to No 10 and Theresa May’s chief of staff in order to get his way and has since used RAF planes to travel to Brussels and other parts of Europe to fulfil his role as Brexit secretary.
Robbins resigned as permanent secretary at DExEU in September to focus on a job as Brexit co-ordinator in Downing Street and is thought to be close to the prime minister.
He is effectively the UK’s chief negotiator in Brexit talks, and there is reportedly a “schism” between Robbins and Davis over how to approach negotiations, and the Brexit secretary feels marginalised in the process.
Robbins is highly thought of in Brussels, with an EU source saying that he was “doing his best” despite the circumstances the UK negotiating team find themselves in.
A source close to Davis told The Times that the story was based on “gossip rather than fact.”
The account was revealed by the Sunday Times editor Tim Shipman in his new book about politics in 2017: “Fall Out.”
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