In Brief

New civil service head was ‘forced out’ by Theresa May’s Brexit negotiator

Simon Case was reportedly ‘cut from meetings’ by Olly Robbins while serving in Department for Exiting the EU

New cabinet secretary Simon Case was reportedly forced out of the civil service during Theresa May’s reign in Downing Street following disagreements over Brexit.

Case, a former director of strategy at GCHQ, has been appointed to head the civil service following the resignation of Mark Sedwill.

But Case was “effectively forced out” of the civil service only two years ago, after butting heads with May’s chief Brexit adviser Olly Robbins while serving in the now-defunct Department for Exiting the European Union (DexEU), The Times reports.

Robbins “cut Mr Case, who was leading work to find a solution to the Irish border question, out of key meetings and left him in the dark over the government’s negotiating strategy”, the newspaper says.

Case was “not a part” of Robbins’ “tight inner circle”, agrees The Telegraph. And his “penchant for occasionally having a quiet word with carefully chosen journalists” also landed Case “in hot water with Mrs May’s joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hilland”, says the newspaper.

As well as signifying a changing of the guard on Brexit, Case’s cabinet secretary appointment has divided opinion. Some insiders describe him as an “indespensible” force on Whitehall, while others claim he is a “yes man” who “only got the job because the prime minister is determined to hold on to people in the Downing Street bunker”, the Financial Times reports.

According to The Telegraph, a source who worked closely with Case said that the new cabinet secretary “boasted the rare quality in a civil servant of ‘being able to see across both sides of the EU divide’”.

“Simon’s the kind of guy who signs up to serve Queen and country. He could absolutely understand why people voted to leave,” the source added.

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