Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office Told to Quit

Sir Simon McDonald, the 59-year old Permanent Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has been asked by the Prime Minister to quit. McDonald has held the role since 2015 and will now leave the department in September 2020, with his successor leading the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the Department for International Development.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said in a statement:

“Simon has reached the end of his term and we want to make sure we have a new permanent secretary for the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and to have that person in place right from the start”.

In a letter from Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, to McDonald he wrote:

“I thank you for your outstanding contribution to the UK’s public life over the past four decades. You have served with distinction in the most senior positions in the Diplomatic Service, including as the Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Adviser, HM Ambassador to Germany, during which you saw an historic State Visit, and as the FCO’s Permanent Secretary”.