Theresa May: New security adviser has ‘no proven expertise’

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Theresa May has criticised the government’s appointment of Europe adviser David Frost as Boris Johnson’s new national security adviser.

Mr Frost, who is leading post-Brexit trade negotiations with the EU, will replace top civil servant Sir Mark Sedwill when he steps down from the role in September.

Unlike his predecessor, Mr Frost is a political adviser rather than a career civil servant and does not have a background in security and intelligence.

Challenging Cabinet Minister Michael Gove in the Commons, the former Prime Minister stressed the importance of independence among Downing Street aides.

She went on: “On Saturday, my right honourable friend said we must be able to promote those with proven expertise.

“Why then is the new national security adviser a political appointee with no proven expertise in national security?”

Mr Gove said it was “entirely appropriate” for Mr Johnson to choose an adviser who could help tackle the “needs of the hour”.

“We have had previous national security advisers, all of them excellent, not all of them necessarily people who were steeped in the security world, some of whom were distinguished diplomats in their own right.

“David Frost is a distinguished diplomat in his own right.”

Mrs May was seen shaking her head as Mr Gove gave his response.

Sir Mark will also step down as Cabinet Secretary and head of the Civil Service, amid reports of clashes with Mr Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings.

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