Dominic Cummings’ ‘pawn’ and Boris Johnson ally to become new head of civil service

PUBLISHED: 20:59 31 August 2020 | UPDATED: 21:02 31 August 2020

Senior aide to prime minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Senior aide to prime minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

An ally of Boris Johnson has reportedly been chosen to deliver the UK’s civil service, and the reforms set by his senior aide Dominic Cummings.

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Simon Case, who was made permanent secretary at 10 Downing Street earlier this year, will be announced as the cabinet secretary on Tuesday, according to the Financial Times.

Case is a former private secretary to the Duke of Cambridge, and spent almost two years working as William’s right-hand man.

He has previously worked as private secretary to former prime minister David Cameron, and more recently temporarily moved to Number 10 to assist with the coronavirus response.


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His expected promotion to cabinet secretary comes after Sir Mark Sedwill announced he would step down from the post amid reports of clashes with Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings.

A Whitehall insider claimed that Case was not necessarily picked for his experience, but for his loyalty to deliver Johnson and Cummings’ reforms.

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Cummings reportedly told civil servants in June that “a hard rain is coming” with an overhaul expected to create a smaller, centralised team running the government.

A Whitehall insider told the newspaper: “Simon’s appointment is very much a ‘hard rain’ appointment. It’s a sign they want to do things quickly. But if the other permanent secretaries don’t recognise that person as ‘the boss’ there will be trouble. Will he find that the levers aren’t attached to anything?”

Former Labour minister Andrew Adonis tweeted “On the basis of conversations since his appointment, I would expect Simon Case’s appointment to lead to another top Whitehall exodus - this one caused by lack of respect for himand the view that he is Cummings’s pawn who will further degrade civil service independence and standards”.

Government sources declined to comment on the reports but a formal announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “An official announcement on the new cabinet secretary will be made on Tuesday 1 September.”

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