Brexit: Why the government is recruiting hordes of experts to help Britain leave the EU

July 19, 2016

An estimated 300 will be hired by the end of the year to help flesh out the terms of Britain's messy divorce from the EU, says Rosamund Urwin.

It seems Britain hasn’t had its fill of experts after all. Despite Michael Gove claiming in the run-up to the EU referendum that our nation was done with doyens and felt patronised by the pros, the Government is now trying to recruit scores of them — top City consultants, lawyers and regulatory specialists — to join its Brexit team.

Whitehall has such a skills vacuum that an estimated 300 will be hired by the end of the year. One insider reckoned this could eventually swell to 500 — and that they might be working intensively for up to a decade. Their job will be to thrash out new deals and flesh out the terms of the UK’s messy divorce from the EU. It is an onerous task. As Miriam González Durántez, a partner at Dechert who is an expert in international trade law and married to former deputy PM Nick Clegg, notes: “When [politicians] say, ‘Brexit means Brexit’ that implies it’s a straightforward negotiation. But we are rethinking the whole country, no?”.

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