David Cameron is committed to an EU referendum if he’s still Prime Minister after the next election. We also know that he’d like to lead the ‘In’ side if he can get a good enough deal.
Given this, the fact that the FT is reporting that Ivan Rogers, the PM’s Europe adviser, is the frontrunner to be Britain’s ambassador to the EU is particularly disappointing. Rogers is a cerebral chap who knows the EU and its institutions back to front. But what he is not is someone who is a natural at driving a hard bargain. As one insider says, ‘he’s not a tough negotiator like Cunliffe’, a reference to the current ambassador Jon Cunliffe who is leaving to join the Bank of England as a deputy governor.
This makes you wonder how Cameron thinks that this renegotiation is going to happen. If he’s going to get anywhere near a good enough deal to persuade the majority of his own party to back In, then it’s going to have to be an all hands to the pump effort. He is going to require an EU Ambassador who is capable of playing diplomatic hard-ball. Ivan Rogers is not that man.