Brexit UK negotiating team profile: DExEU Permanent Secretary Oliver Robbins

Newington's Tiffany Burrows and Katie Milne profile Oliver Robbins, DExEU Permanent Secretary.

Age: 42


Labelled as “the real Mr Brexit” and “the most important player on Brexit you’ve probably never heard of” by Politico, Robbins is David Davis’ number 2 in DExEU, leading the civil service’s Brexit efforts.  He is also the Prime Minister’s adviser and “sherpa” on Brexit.

Experience: 21 years

Robbins is a vastly experienced civil servant. He began his career in the Treasury and has worked for several Prime Ministers (Blair, Brown, Cameron and May – when she was Home Secretary). He served as Deputy National Security Advisor responsible for Intelligence, Security and Resilience until 2014 before moving to the Home Office under now Prime Minister Theresa May.

Red Tape Rating: 4/5

Robbins has a long and distinguished career as a civil servant, but has no experience working within European institutions. However, his expertise on immigration and his time at the Home Office resulted in David Cameron appointing him as an advisor on the EU after the referendum (a very short stint!)

Contention rating: 1/5

Robbins has a reputation for being unflappably impartial, praised by Conservatives and Labour alike. Labour Peer and former MP Tessa Jowell once described him as someone who “has only the U.K. government’s interests at heart.”

Twitter followers: 2,639