25 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Sir Jeremy stands down

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The head of the UK Public Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood (pictured), is to stand down on medical advice.

Sir Jeremy said it was with deep sadness that he was retiring to continue his treatment for cancer, but he used a personal statement to defend the Public Service from what he described as “recent noises off from anonymous commentators”.

He said the Public Service was in robust health and well-equipped to provide the support the country needed.

Prime Minister, Theresa May said Sir Jeremy would be sorely missed and had been nominated for a life peerage.

He served under former Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, taking over his current role under Mr Cameron.

Sir Jeremy has been on leave for cancer treatment after being diagnosed in June last year.

National Security Adviser, Sir Mark Sedwill has been acting in Sir Jeremy’s position since June and Ms May said he would now be the permanent replacement while continuing in the National Security role.

Announcing his departure, Sir Jeremy said he still had a great desire to serve his country and make a positive difference.

“It is with great sadness therefore that, on medical advice, I must now retire,” Sir Jeremy said.

He said he joined the Public Service 35 years ago as “an enthusiastic young economist” who rose through the ranks to its highest office, serving, at close quarters, “four Prime Ministers — two Conservative and two Labour — and the first coalition Government for decades”.

Sir Jeremy said he had seen it as a responsibility to “look for fresh angles, to challenge lazy thinking and to work with colleagues to find solutions, rather than simply identifying problems and obstacles”.

On the UK’s impending exit from the European Union, he said he was “particularly proud of the work Whitehall has done in seeking to bring clarity, shape and practical options to the table for Ministers to discuss”.

London, 25 October 2018

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