May Shuffles U.K. Brexit Team for Next Phase of Talks

  • Officials: Robbins moves to May office from Brexit department
  • Philip Rycroft moves up to replace him as permanent secretary

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U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has reshuffled her team of top Brexit negotiators in preparation for talks entering a new phase.

Oliver Robbins has left his post as the leading official in charge of the Brexit Department to focus full time on the negotiations as May’s EU adviser working from the Cabinet office, according to a statement released by the Department for Exiting the European Union.

Robbins will focus on his leading role in the negotiations with Brussels, which have stalled in recent weeks as the two sides argue over the divorce settlement. Philip Rycroft will replace Robbins as permanent secretary -- the most senior civil service post.

May is hoping to use a major speech in Florence on Friday to break the deadlock, amid speculation she will offer to continue paying into the EU budget during a transitional phase after the U.K. formally leaves the EU.

Both sides had hoped to move on to discussing the future trading arrangement between Britain and the EU in October, but this will depend on making sufficient progress on the exit terms first.

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