Britain’s most senior civil servant stands down

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FILE PHOTO: NATO’s civilian representative to Afghanistan Mark Sedwill talks to the media in Kabul February 9, 2010.

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s most senior civil servant, Mark Sedwill, told Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday he would stand down as cabinet secretary and national security adviser.

In an exchange of letters with Johnson, Sedwill said: “Two years ago, when my predecessor fell ill, your predecessor asked me to step in as Cabinet Secretary, and you asked me to continue to support you through Brexit and the election period.

“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.”

Johnson thanked Sedwill for his “outstanding service”. The prime minister said he had asked Sedwill to lead a new G7 panel on Global Economic Security as the UK assumes the G7 presidency, and said he had nominated Sedwill for a life peerage.

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David Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator with the European Union, will replace Sedwill as national security adviser, Downing Street said.

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