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Conservative leadership candidate Dominic Raab on the Andrew Marr Show. Photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC/BBC/PA Wire
On Tuesday, October 30th last, a small group sat down for a private dinner in the comfortable surrounds of the Irish Ambassador’s residence at Grosvenor Square in London. The gathering took place at a very sensitive moment, diplomatically and politically. Negotiations on the withdrawal agreement for Britain’s exit from the European Union appeared about to come to an end and pro-Brexit ministers were threatening to resign from Theresa May’s cabinet if a backstop as then proposed was included in the agreement.
Dominic Raab had been appointed Brexit secretary the previous July and it seems both the Irish and European sides had found the MP a curious and, at times, bullish character. It was in that context that Tánaiste Simon Coveney invited Raab to a dinner, presumably in order to get to know him better in a more relaxed setting.