FCDO second perm sec named national security adviser

Liz Truss moves Stephen Lovegrove to short-term defence industrial adviser role
Allies: Truss and Barrow. Photo: Reuters/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

07 Sep 2022

Foreign Office second permanent secretary Sir Tim Barrow has been named as the new PM’s national security adviser in the first major civil service appointment announced by Truss’s government.

Barrow will replace Sir Stephen Lovegrove, who will take on a new position as Liz Truss’s defence industrial adviser after just 18 months in the job.

Barrow, who was also political director at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, had only been promoted to second perm sec in March in a major department restructure.

“It is an honour to have been appointed national security adviser,” Barrow said.

“I look forward to working with the prime minister, the cabinet and colleagues from across government to deliver the prime minister’s foreign policy and national security priorities.

He will begin working as national security adviser on 14 September.

Truss, who worked with Barrow at the FCDO as foreign secretary until a few days ago, said he will bring a “huge wealth of experience safeguarding the interests and security of the British people around the world”, including playing a leading role in the UK’s diplomatic response to Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine.

Barrow had a long career in the diplomatic service, including a stint as British ambassador to Russia and UK permanent representative to the European Union. He has also served as an ambassador in both Kyiv and Moscow.

Cabinet secretary Simon Case, who could reportedly also be replaced, said Barrow is “very highly regarded across government and internationally and is ideally qualified to take up this particularly important role”.

Taking on a newly created role, Lovegrove will focus on “a number of vital national and international defence programmes”, including nuclear defence, until the end of the year, the Cabinet Office said.

“It has been the greatest privilege to serve as the UK’s national security adviser, and to have led the women and men of Britain’s incredible national security community,” said Lovegrove, who was Ministry of Defence perm sec from 2016 to 2021.

“It has been an extraordinary period, and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved together, from the global leadership we have shown in supporting Ukraine to the hugely significant AUKUS partnership, which I look forward to continuing to support.

“I know Tim will provide the leadership we need in this vital, often unsung, work and I wish him every success in his new role.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said they were not able to confirm yet what would happen with the role when Lovegrove leaves at the end of 2022.

The FCDO was asked about its plans to replace Barrow but had not responded by the time of publication.

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