- A leaked report quotes EU officials as saying the government is in “chaos” over Brexit.
- Senior EU figures view Britain’s leading politicians as “unimpressive” and low quality.
- Irish government paper notes that Brexit Secretary David Davis had a meeting with the French European affairs minister without mentioning Brexit once.
- Prime minister’s spokesperson says the government is working hard on Brexit.
LONDON – A leaked document has revealed the scathing view of senior EU figures about leading politicians in Theresa May’s government
The internal paper by the Irish government’s Department of Foreign Affairs documents scathing assessments of British ministers and EU figures bemoaning “political confusion” in the government contributing to the slow progress of Brexit talks.
One senior official said they were alarmed by “chaos in the Conservative government,” as ministers argue over the correct course to take as the UK leaves the EU, Irish broadcaster RTÉ reported.
According to the leaked paper, officials were amazed that Brexit Secretary David Davis had barely mentioned Brexit during a meeting with the French ministers for defence and European Affairs.
This surprised the French ministers, who thought Davis would use the meeting as an opportunity to try and smooth French resistance to negotiations advancing to the next stage.
The Czech Republic’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Jakub Dürr told Irish officials “he felt sorry for British Ambassadors around the EU trying to communicate a coherent message when there is political confusion at home.”
In a separate meeting, a minister in the Czech government described Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as “unimpressive” but said that at least he had “avoided any gaffes” during a visit to the country in September.
The report is based on a series of meetings between Irish ambassadors and officials with government officials in ten EU countries and Japan.
It quotes Ian Forrester, the British judge in the European Court of Justice, bemoaning “the quality of politicians in Westminster.”
According to the paper, Forrester went on to wonder whether the British public would view Brexit as “a great mistake” when they realised the reality of what leaving the EU meant for the UK.
The comments will be a worry to Theresa May, as she attempts to break the deadlock in Brexit talks before a crucial European Council summit next month.
EU heads of state will use the meeting to decide if “sufficient progress” has been made on three key issues to allow negotiations to move onto the next stage.
Last week Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Brexit talks are not even close to progressing to the next stage.
The prime minister’s spokesperson told Business Insider: “I don’t comment on leaked documents but more broadly the government is working hard on preparations for Brexit. You can see that work is ongoing. There are ongoing preparations for all eventualities as spelled out by the chancellor yesterday. On Ireland, I would reiterate there is a good and constructive working relationship with the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach.
“I have not seen the document and I will never comment on leaked documents.”
Liberal Democrat MP and Brexit spokesperson told MPs on Thursday that the report painted a “rather unflattering picture of the UK government’s negotiating skills,” and asked Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom for a debate on the government’s incompetence.
In response, Leadsom told Brake to “stop talking the country down” and said: “We are extremely optimistic about the prospects for the UK as we leave the EU and his constant pessimism is not helping.”