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The inside story of Whitehall’s fierce Brexit row

Beneath the cabinet drama, the future of the Brexit departments is proving deeply controversial

By Alex Dean  

Photo: Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment

Brexit is putting British politics under unprecedented strain. Recent days have demonstrated well the immense pressure being exerted. Yet beneath the immediate headlines there are issues of structural importance that are not going away. This is the story of the great Whitehall headache.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 referendum, three days into the job, Theresa May announced that two new government departments would be created. The Department for Exiting the European Union and the Department for International Trade were essential, the prime minister argued,…

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