By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline
Published: 16:47 BST, 16 July 2019 | Updated: 17:15 BST, 16 July 2019
Theresa May was warned against triggering Britain's departure from the EU in 2017 in case it weakened our bargaining power with Brussels, a former top diplomat revealed today.
The outgoing prime minister, who started the two-year countdown to Brexit on March 29, 2017, was warned against the move by the former EU ambassador Ivan Rogers, the retired diplomat told MPs.
He told the Foreign Affairs Committee that he and Olly Robbins, her European adviser both tried to steer her away from the plan before it was announced in October 2016 because it immediately limited the Government's room to manoeuvre.
He also said that Mrs May's Tory conference speech that year setting out her Brexit red lines prompted him to think 'blimey' they will cause a stir in Brussels.
Under questioning from MPs today he said: 'Olly rang me up to say, ''She's going to announce the date set for triggering Article 50 tomorrow. I don't think that's a very good idea. What do you think?''
'I said no I don't think it's a very good idea because you lose a lot of leverage the moment you do that.