Did he jump or was he pushed?
Today he is suddenly Mr Nobody. His astonishing free-fall descent from the dizzying heights of top diplomacy to becoming no more than the man on the Clapham omnibus could have been largely a self-inflicted wound.
His acrimonious resignation from the EU ambassadorship, during which he’d accused the Government of “muddled thinking” over Brexit, suggests, however, that he may well have been given an ultimatum by the Prime Minister: “You either resign or we will sack you.”
It has emerged that before his resignation, he had dinner with David Cameron (pictured with Sir Ivan), during which he reportedly said he feared “a car crash” over Brexit and a “disorderly” departure from the EU.
If the Prime Minister had got wind of that meeting and those alleged comments, she would have been furious.
Civil servants at all levels are expected to try to implement Government policies, whatever their private views. But for Sir Ivan, believed to be a committed Remainer, it would have been ludicrous for an anti-Brexiteer to be a leading figure in negotiations with Brussels when he was opposed to the issue in question. So he had to go, whether he jumped or was pushed.
Subsequently he has resigned from the civil service altogether: a stellar career, suddenly lying in ruins.
It was unclear at the time of writing whether he was forced out or whether that was his own decision. Whichever it was, the Government appears to have made no attempt to persuade him to stay in Whitehall.
What this unhappy episode reveals is that the Government is approaching these negotiations with a hard-headed zeal, ensuring doubters and nay-sayers are kept well away from the action.
- Our so-called “snowflake” university students – or at least some of them – appear to have developed racist tendencies. At the School of Oriental and African Studies, they have apparently been demanding that they no longer want to be taught about philosophers who are white.