Britain’s top civil servant Sir Mark Sedwill quits as Cabinet Secretary ahead of PM’s ‘Whitehall revolution’
THE UK’s top civil servant announced his resignation tonight following reports a major shakeup of the Whitehall machine is under way.
Sir Mark Sedwill said he will step down from his roles as Cabinet Secretary, National Security Adviser and head of the Civil Service in September.
No 10 sources said Dominic Cummings thought Sedwill was a barrier to ‘Whitehall reform’[/caption]
No 10 sources said Dominic Cummings thought Sedwill was a barrier to “Whitehall reform,” with the agreement of Mr Johnson and Michael Gove, reports The Guardian.
Cummings is thought to be heading a Whitehall revolution alongside the PM, who this evening confirmed Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost will take over as National Security Advisor.
He said: “I am delighted to appoint David Frost as my next National Security Adviser.
“He is an experienced diplomat, policy thinker, and proven negotiator, with a strong belief in building Britain’s place in the world.”
Sir Mark’s role is likely to be split into two separate positions, with permanent secretary Simon Case tipped to take over as Cabinet Secretary.
Sir Mark echoed this in a handwritten letter to the PM, where he set out how the separate roles were better suited to the current climate as No 10 moves onto “domestic and global recovery” from the Covid crisis.
He added it was now time to leave, having initially been drafted into the Cabinet Secretary job after the death of his predecessor Jeremy Heywood.
In a letter to the PM he wrote: “It was obviously right to stay on for the acute phase of the Covid-19 crisis.
“As you are setting out this week, the Government’s focus is now shifting to domestic and global recovery and renewal.”
He will now head up a new G7 panel on Global Economic Security and has been put forward for a life peerage.
Mr Johnson praised the outgoing civil service chief’s career, paying tribute to his “unflappable good humour”.
He said: “It has been by any standards a massive contribution – but as PM I have particularly appreciated your calm and shrewd advice.”
Sir Mark is said to have been increasingly “unhappy” following running battles with No 10’s top team.
The PM reportedly came close to firing him at the end of last month, and his departure had been expected for some time.
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Mr Cummings has vowed to overhaul the civil service, which he sees as a cosy club guilty of group think.
In a speech yesterday Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said major change is needed.
He warned the “metropolitan” outlook of officials had contributed to governments becoming “estranged” from normal people.
Sir Mark said it was the right time to leave[/caption]
His role will be split into two, and David Frost will take over as National Security Advisor[/caption]
The PM sent Sir Mark a handwritten farewell letter[/caption]