The replacement of Sir Mark Sedwill as a national security advisor by Boris Johnson's chief negotiator in Europe effectively sets a tough deadline for the Brexit trade talks, Downing Street said last night.
David Frost, a professional diplomat, will switch to his new role in early September. This means that talks with Brussels on a free trade agreement must be completed by the end of August at the latest.
If no agreement is reached by then, the United Kingdom will leave without agreement after the transition period ends on December 31st. The government hopes that the deadline will increase the pressure on EU leaders to make concessions that would make it easier to seal a free trade agreement.
The Prime Minister's decision to appoint two successors to Sir Mark – a new national security adviser and a new cabinet secretary – is designed to ensure that Britain can play an important role on the world stage.
British Brexit chief negotiator David Frost (pictured) will take over as National Security Advisor in September, Boris Johnson confirmed today
In another break from tradition, Mr. Frost is more of a political appointment than a public service appointment – which means that he is more like a special advisor.
The 55-year-old is considered a close employee of Dominic Cummings and has no experience in the field of national security. However, he will now be the prime adviser to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on national security strategy, policy and planning for emergencies.
It is unclear who will take over as Cabinet Secretary from September, but Simon Case is eager to prepare for a promotion. Mr. Case was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Coronavirus Crisis No. 10.
Mr Frost is currently the Prime Minister's European Adviser and Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom, having previously served as Secretary of State as Special Adviser to Mr Johnson.
Following the news of his appointment today, Mr. Frost said he would "of course remain the chief negotiator for the EU talks and this will remain my top priority until these negotiations are completed in one way or another."
Derby-born Frost won a scholarship from Nottingham High School before studying French and history at St. John’s College in Oxford. He joined the Foreign Office in 1987 and was first employed by the British High Commission in Cyprus.
Sir Mark Sedwill (pictured), currently serving as NSA and cabinet secretary, announced that he will step down from both roles later this year after more than 30 years in government service
Mr. Johnson (pictured) appears to have assumed the roles of Cabinet Secretary and NSA that Theresa May came to when she appointed Sir Mark Cabinet Secretary in 2018
In 1993 he had his first impression of working with the EU when he was posted to Brussels as the first secretary for economic and financial affairs. He was then sent to the United Nations.
Between 2006 and 2008 he was the UK's ambassador to Denmark before becoming the UK's highest representative of trade policy in the business department. He left the diplomatic service in 2013 to head the Scotch Whiskey Association. However, when Mr. Johnson became Secretary of State, he returned to the government as a special adviser.
He was also a member of the Advisory Board of Open Europe, an eurosceptic think tank.
When Mr. Johnson became prime minister, Mr. Frost came back on board and properly negotiated the agreement that allowed Britain to leave the EU in late January.
Speaking about his appointment today, he said: “I am delighted and honored to have been named the next national security advisor. I look forward to helping to implement the Prime Minister's vision for a global Britain with real influence around the world.
Mr Frost is currently the Prime Minister's European Adviser and Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom, having previously served as Secretary of State as Special Adviser to Mr Johnson
Both Sir Mark (pictured with Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Matt Hancock and Therese Coffey) and Mr. Frost are said to receive lifelong peerages and make them House of Lords
& # 39; My goal is to help the Prime Minister establish a new strategic vision for Britain's place in the world as an independent country after the end of the transition period, and to support that vision as we strengthen our international relations.
“To do this effectively, we need to strengthen and realign our international political apparatus to ensure that we keep up with others around the world. The creation of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is an important step in this.
& # 39; Implementing the integrated review of our international capabilities and ensuring that we use the National Security Council to drive its results are also essential, and I look forward to leading both.
"I will of course remain the chief negotiator for the EU talks and these will remain my top priority until these negotiations are completed in one way or another."
Mr. Johnson praised Mr. Frost as an "experienced diplomat, political thinker, and proven negotiator."
"He negotiated the deal that eventually allowed us to leave the EU in January, and I am confident that in his new role, he will also improve this country's ability to project influence for the better," he said .
Pictured: Sir Mark with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street in July last year
"I asked David to help me implement this government's vision for Britain's place in the world, help me revitalize our national security architecture and ensure that we deliver to the UK people internationally."
Both Sir Mark and Mr. Frost are to receive lifelong peerages, Downing Street confirmed, making them House of Lords.
The news of his new job follows Angela Merkel's warning that Britain must live with the consequences of Johnson's plan to give up close economic ties with the EU.
Amidst the blockade of whether Britain must comply with the bloc's state aid rules, environmental, social and labor standards in return for a free trade agreement, the German Chancellor said: "We have to let go of the idea that we have to define what Britain should do want. Britain has to define that – and we, the EU27, will respond appropriately. & # 39;
Mr. Frost will take over the role of NSA from Sir Mark, who was appointed by Theresa May in 2017 and appointed Cabinet Secretary a year later. Despite criticism, he was allowed to keep both jobs.
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