Ex-National Security Advisor: Blaming civil service covers lack of political leadership

29 June 2020, 07:41 | Updated: 29 June 2020, 07:44

The former National Security Advisor has backed the civil service and said that the real failure over the coronavirus crisis has been political leadership.

Mark Sedwill announced yesterday he has agreed to stand down as the head of the Civil Service and the Prime Minister's national security adviser.

Lord Ricketts told Nick Ferrari that he has been made the scapegoat for the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

He said: "This may be the beginning of a blame game. People are turning on senior civil servants to make examples of them.

"Actually, I think the civil service has reacted very well to what was an extraordinary unprecedented crisis. The real failure in my view has been political leadership.

"In a crisis as unexpected and big as this, you need clear consistent political choices and leadership and I think, when the history of it comes to be written, we'll see that Ministers weren't making those hard choices early on, clarity about what were the priorities."

Nick Ferrari heard from Lord Ricketts about Mark Sedwill stepping down
Nick Ferrari heard from Lord Ricketts about Mark Sedwill stepping down. Picture: LBC / PA

Lord Ricketts also admitted his concern that Sir David Frost will take over as National Security Advisor.

He added: "You need experience in that sector of work - defence, security, intelligence, foreign policy.

"In David Frost, you have someone who has been a diplomat, but as far as I know, has no experience of the wider security and defence agenda, so that is a worry."

Hear his full interview at the top of the page.

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