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Sat, 20 April 2024

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Ex-private secretary to Prince William set to be new Cabinet Secretary as Boris Johnson shakes up civil service

Simon Case is currently on secondment from Kensington Palace to Number 10 (PA)

2 min read

A former private secretary to the Duke of Cambridge is the surprise choice to become the new Cabinet Secretary, the country’s most senior civil servant.

Simon Case is due to be confirmed in the role by Boris Johnson on Tuesday, which signals the Prime Minister and his chief adviser Dominic Cummings are pressing ahead with their Whitehall shake-up.

He will take over following the departure of Sir Mark Sedwill, who was effectively forced out after just two years in the role after repeatedly clashing with Mr Cummings. 

The 41-year-old, who will be the youngest Cabinet Secretary since 1916, is currently on secondment as Number 10’s permanent secretary from Kensington Palace, after being brought in to help with the coronavirus response.

It is understood Mr Case did not initially seek the job, and was expected to return to Prince William’s private office, but was asked to make a formal application by Downing Street.

An ex-principal private secretary to David Cameron and Theresa May when they were PM, he also led the Cabinet Office Implementation Unit, and worked on solving the Northern Ireland border issue at the the Department for Exiting the European Union.

He also helped deliver the 2012 London Olympics, but will now be expected to lead the civil service reforms signalled by Mr Cummings.

The No10 aide warned a “hard rain is coming” earlier this summer, with a raft of senior figures already announcing they are leaving their roles ahead of plans to concentrate power within a “smaller, more focused and more elite centre”.

As well as Sir Mark’s resignation, permanent secretaries at the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Justice have resigned in recent months.

And last week Jonathan Slater was removed from the same post at the Department of Education following the controversy surrounding this year's A-levels and GCSE results.

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