The British government team leading Brexit negotiations with Brussels has been broken up by the Prime Minister, according to a report in The Times.
The team of civil servants, led by Theresa May’s chief Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins have reportedly been redeployed to other departments.
At one point there were 50 people working in the UK’s Brexit negotiating team but the opposition has repeatedly claimed Mr Johnson is not interested in an alternative deal with the EU and simply wants to get out without a deal.
No one had a problem with the unelected, Remainer Olly Robbins 'running the show', but unelected, Leaver Dominic Cummings, who is undertaking the same role, 'It's an outrage! The man's a bounder.' The hypocrisy is sickening.— Sally Jane (@SallyPresto) September 4, 2019
In March it was reported the editor of the Evening Standard newspaper George Osborne, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, was suggesting Mr Robbins should be sacked to save her EU withdrawal deal because he was so despised by the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG).
The Times also reported Mr Robbins is set to quit the civil service altogether after being put on gardening leave in July when Mr Johnson took over in Downing Street.
His job went to one of Mr Johnson’s former advisers, David Frost, who is working within the Department for Exiting the EU and has a team of only four under him.
PM Johnson’s EU Sherpa David Frost (new Olly Robbins) in Brux today & tomorrow ‘to pass on message in person’. Gov spox: ‘UK is leaving EU on 31 Oct whatever. We’ll work for a deal but Backstop must be abolished. If we‘re not able to reach agreement we‘ll have to leave without.’— Nick Gutteridge (@nick_gutteridge) July 31, 2019
At the height of negotiations over the original withdrawal agreement there were more than 50 civil servants working in the Europe unit under Mr Robbins, with additional support being provided by other government departments as well as UK officials in Brussels.
Mr Johnson, who is believed to be heavily influenced by spin doctor Dominic Cummings, is now gambling all his chips on an election in which he hopes to win a mandate to push through no-deal Brexit.
Mr Frost has reportedly told Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings there is no chance of agreeing a new deal on the Irish backstop.
No 10 Update: Photo Highlights of Brexit negotiations thus far ... David Frost having a quick drink before heading to Brussels pic.twitter.com/0CCPzGUfL7— 10 Sesame Street (@10_sesame) September 5, 2019
Mr Johnson is in Dublin on Monday, 9 September, to meet Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and discuss the Irish border situation.
He will then return to London to try and persuade Parliament to vote for an early general election.
But Labour has already said it will not vote for an election until Hilary Benn’s no-deal Brexit bill has been given Royal Assent, which is due to happen later on Monday.