Everything you need to know about the UK's new man in Brussels Sir Tim Barrow
Sir Tim Barrow has been named Britain’s new ambassador to the EU after Sir Ivan Rogers’ shock resignation. Described by Number 10 as a “seasoned and tough negotiator”, Barrow will now play a crucial role in Brexit negotiations – so here’s everything you need to know about him.
What has he done in his career so far?
Barrow is a career diplomat. He joined the Foreign Office 31 years ago and was appointed its political director general last March after a series of Whitehall roles and overseas postings.
Ambassadorships in Moscow and Kiev followed a stint as private secretary to the foreign secretary, Robin Cook, but perhaps most crucially, he has twice held positions in the UK’s Permanent Representation to the EU (UKRep) team.
What do other people think about him?
Charles Crawford, who was Barrow’s boss in Moscow in 1993, called him “a skilled, tough negotiator”.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Barrow was “just the man” to secure the best deal for the UK.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “We are delighted that Tim Barrow is taking up this role. A seasoned and tough negotiator, with extensive experience of securing UK objectives in Brussels, he will bring his trademark energy and creativity to this job – working alongside other senior officials and ministers to make a success of Brexit.”
Brexit Secretary David Davis said: “UKRep will have a crucial role to play in the negotiation over the UK’s exit from the EU, and Sir Tim Barrow will add to the already extensive experience it brings.
“His knowledge of Brussels means he will be able to hit the ground running at a vital time, and steer UKRep throughout the negotiation period. I am confident that with his help, the UK will be able to forge a new relationship with the EU that works to the mutual benefit of both sides.”
However, Ukip doesn’t seem to be best pleased by the appointment.
The party’s Brexit spokesman Gerard Batten said: “This appointment is a disappointment because the last thing we need is another career diplomat wearing a Brussels jersey.”
What problems will he face in his new role?
Sir Robert Cooper, a former UK diplomat and European Commission official who knows Barrow, warned that the UK’s team in Brussels currently lacks direction.
Rogers’ resignation letter was certainly fiery, unveiling the issues that Barrow might come up against. Rogers hit out at the “ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking” of politicians and said civil servants still did not know the Government’s plans for Brexit.
Labour called for the Government to set out a clear timetable for the publication of its Brexit plans in the wake of the resignation, so that will probably be top of Barrow’s agenda.
What about his personal style?
Barrow is known for his jazzy style and penchant for waistcoats. Sure, it’s not entirely relevant to his politics but it’s a plus in our books anyway.