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Boris Johnson would remove security role from Cabinet Secretary

JOE MURPHY

Boris Johnson intends to split the dual roles of top civil servant and the National Security Adviser, it has emerged.

The former foreign secretary would restore the separate, full-time position of the Government’s chief adviser on security issues, according to Tory MPs.

Theresa May caused consternation last year when she promoted Sir Mark Sedwill, who has filled the security post since 2017, to be the most senior civil servant at the same time.

No 10 said today that Mrs May had made clear in October that Sir Mark would maintain both roles.

There had been speculation she was keeping the NSA role available for her chief Brexit adviser, Olly Robbins, who is expected to step back from EU talks when Mrs May leaves Downing Street.

Sir Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the public administration committee, has warned Sir Mark may be less capable of challenging rival opinions in Whitehall if he has two roles that might conflict.

An ex-mandarin has voiced fears that the NSA role cannot be done “part-time” while working an “18-hour day” as Cabinet Secretary.

Former defence secretary Gavin Williamson is likely to back a split. He reportedly clashed with Sir Mark over resources allocated to cybersecurity.

He was keen to maximise the budget for conventional forces instead. Sources in the Johnson team said no decisions had been taken on appointments.