Brexit UK negotiating team profile: UK Permanent Representative to the EU Sir Tim Barrow

Newington's Tiffany Burrows and Katie Milne profile Sir Tim Barrow, UK Permanent Representative to the EU.

Age: 53


Barrow is a career diplomat, and has had overseas postings in Ukraine and Russia and is now UK Ambassador to the EU.

Experience: 31 years

Barrow joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1986, working in the Western European Department and has held many roles since. He served in the diplomatic corps as British Ambassador in Kiev and later Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Russia from 2011 to 2016. Barrow has had many EU facing roles, including as UK Representative to the Political and Security Committee of the European Union and Ambassador to the Western European Union, and as the First Secretary within UKREP Brussels, and as Assistant Director of the Europe Directorate’s External department, which included the UK’s Presidency of the EU in 2005 .  He was Political Director of the FCO until his appointment as the UK Ambassador to the EU in 2017.

Contention rating: 2/5

Barrow has spent his entire career in diplomacy, so is well briefed on avoiding controversial statements and positions. However, Barrow’s appointment as the UK’s Ambassador to the EU came after his predecessor, Sir Ivan Rogers resigned, urging his staff to challenge “ill-founded arguments” and made clear that “serious multilateral negotiating experience is in short supply in Whitehall”.  The BBC’s James Lansdale stated that it “would be very hard to say that Sir Tim Barrow is an out-and-out pro-European” which appeased many Brexiteers upon his appointment.

Red tape rating: 3/5

Barrow has been in the FCO for over three decades, and has a wealth of experience in the diplomatic and political fields. Barrow is also no stranger to the EU; as former UK Ambassador to Lebanon, Tom Fletcher acknowledged: “he knows the corridors, he knows the characters”.

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