Britain's ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, yesterday unexpectedly resigned from the post weeks before Brexit negotiations with the economic bloc.
The senior diplomat had been expected to lead the UK's Brexit negotiations with the economic bloc but was recently in the eye of a storm after the leak of an internal memo in which he claimed leaving the EU could take up to a decade.
Confirming the resignation today, the UK foreign office, however, declined to offer any reasons for the move at this stage.
According to Labour MP Hilary Benn, who chaired the UK Parliament's Brexit Select Committee, the resignation had come at a critical time. He added that it could not be a more difficult time to organise a handover.
Rogers occupied the post of the United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the EU (UKRep), which represented the UK in negotiations that take place in the EU.
UKRep is among the busiest posts, with a team sourced from over 20 UK government departments working to ensure that UK policies were explained to other EU member states, the EC and members of the European Parliament. Rogers, a veteran civil servant, would leave his post in November 2017 but is stepping down early.
A spokesman with the UK government also said in a brief statement that "Sir Ivan Rogers has resigned a few months early as UK Permanent Representative to the European Union," Xinhua reported.
The sudden decision came only weeks after Rogers faced accusations of damaging the UK's Brexit negotiations.
According to commentators, the relationship between Rogers and the government had become strained due his comments over Brexit.
Rogers was appointed as permanent representative in 2013 by former Prime Minister David Cameron.
Rogers had been expected to play a key role in Brexit talks scheduled to start within months after Cameron's successor at 10 Downing Street Theresa May triggered the exiting process in March.