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Chief Brexit negotiator to take over as National Security Adviser

por Marcus Hedrick (02/07/2020)


Replacing Sir Mark Sedwill as national security adviser with Boris Johnson's chief negotiator in Europe effectively sets a hard deadline on Brexit trade talks, Downing Street said last night.

David Frost, a career diplomat, will move to his new role by the beginning of September.
This means that talks with Brussels over a free trade deal will have to be completed by the end of August at the latest.

If no agreement is reached by then, the UK will leave without a deal when the transition period ends on December 31.

The Government hopes the deadline will increase pressure on EU leaders to make concessions which would make it easier to seal a free trade deal.

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 Britain can play a major part on the world stage.

Britain's chief Brexit negotiator David Frost (pictured) will take over as National Security Advisor from September, Boris Johnson confirmed today

In another break from tradition, Mr Frost's is a political appointment rather than a civil service one - meaning he is more akin to a special adviser. 

Regarded as a close associate of Dominic Cummings, the 55-year-old has no previous national security experience.

However, he will now be the principal adviser to the Prime Minister and Cabinet on national security strategy, policy and planning for emergencies.

It is unclear who will step into the Cabinet Secretary position from September, but Simon Case is hotly tipped to be gearing up for a promotion. Mr Case was appointed permanent secretary in No10 amid the coronavirus crisis.  

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Mr Frost is currently the Prime Minister's Europe Adviser and the UK's Chief Negotiator, having previously served as Special Adviser to Mr Johnson when he was Foreign Secretary. 

Speaking after news of his appointment today, Mr Frost said he will 'of course remain Chief Negotiator for the EU talks and these will remain my top single priority until those negotiations have concluded, one way or another.'    

Born in Derby, Mr Frost won a scholarship to Nottingham High School before going on to study French and history at St John's College, Oxford.

He joined the Foreign Office in 1987, with his first posting taking him to the British High Commission in Cyprus. 

Sir Mark Sedwill (pictured), who currently acts as NSA and Cabinet Secretary, announced he will step down from both roles later this year after more than 30 years in Government service

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 Britain can play a major part on the world stage