EXCL: Sir Mark Sedwill 'facing the axe as Cabinet Secretary' if Brexiteer becomes Prime Minister

Posted On: 
11th May 2019

Sir Mark Sedwill faces the axe as Cabinet Secretary if a Brexiteer wins the race to become Tory leader, PoliticsHome has learned.

Sir Mark Sedwill is Cabinet Secretary and national security adviser.
PA Images

The Whitehall bigwig, who is also Theresa May's national security adviser, is unpopular with a number of high-profile Conservatives.

They include Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, both of whom are tipped as possible successors to the Prime Minister.

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Sir Mark hit the headlines earlier this month after pointing the finger at Gavin Williamson following the leak of information from a meeting of the National Security Council.

He launched a leak inquiry at Mrs May's request after the Daily Telegraph reported that she planned to give Chinese firm Huawei a role in the development of the UK's 5G network.

Mr Williamson was sacked as Defence Secretary after the Prime Minister said there was "compelling evidence" that he had briefed the paper, something he has strenuously denied.

One minister said Sir Mark - who was Permanent Secretary in the Home Office when Mrs May ran the department - was "almost certain’"to be "moved on" as Cabinet Secretary by a new Tory leader.

"Sedwill is very much seen as the PM’s creature,’ the minister said. "He was always going to find it hard to survive a change of leader because he is so closely associated with her.

"The hardline Brexiteers don’t like him because he basically stopped no deal. But it is not just them – people like Michael Gove, in fact probably most of the main leadership candidates, have also got their doubts.

"The way Gavin’s departure was handled might well be the final straw. My guess is that, whoever comes next, Sedwill will almost certainly be quietly moved on."

One option for removing Sir Mark would be to offer him a peerage, although it is thought Boris Johnson could make him Britain's ambassador to America.