The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator and Johnson’s close ally David Frost will take over as national security adviser, and the government will shortly launch the search for Sedwill’s successor as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service.
Sedwill was appointed Cabinet Secretary, Whitehall’s main job, by Theresa May in October 2018, succeeding Jeremy Heywood, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and died in November 2018. Sedwill has served as an adviser to National security since April 2017 and before that he was the main official in the Interior Ministry in May.
Sedwill will take on a new role leading a “G-7 panel on global economic security,” Downing Street said, as the United Kingdom takes over the international group’s presidency next year.
In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Sedwill said: “Two years ago, when my predecessor became ill, your predecessor asked me to intervene as Cabinet Secretary, and you asked me to continue supporting you during Brexit and the election period. Obviously, it was correct to remain in the acute phase of the Covid-19 crisis. As proposed this week, the government’s focus is now shifting towards national and global recovery and renewal. “
Sedwill thanked Johnson for his “trust and friendship as foreign secretary and prime minister.”
Johnson is expected to deliver a speech Tuesday outlining the government’s plans for the recovery from the coronavirus. In his reply to Sedwill, the Prime Minister said: “In recent years I have had direct experience of the excellent service they have provided to the government and to the country as a whole.
“It has been, from any point of view, a huge contribution, but as Prime Minister, I have particularly appreciated his calm and cunning”
In welcoming Frost to his new role in a separate statement, Johnson said: “I have asked David to help me deliver this government’s vision for Britain’s place in the world and to support me in revitalizing our national security architecture and ensuring that we meet British people on the international stage. “
Frost said he would remain chief Brexit negotiator until the end of talks on the future relationship between the UK and the EU. The post-Brexit transition period will end on December 31, at which point the UK hopes to have negotiated a free trade agreement with the EU.