Former Tory Prime Minister has savaged her successors choice to appoint a political advisor as Britain’s top security advisor.
Michael Gove appeared in the House of Commons to defend the appointment of Boris Johnson ‘ chief EU negotiator to the key post of national security adviser (NSA).
But Theresa May slammed the decision saying she had spent nine years on the National Security Council listening to “expert, independent advice” but that Mr Johnson’s move would put someone with “no proven experience” in the top role
Unlike previous holders of the post, David Frost is a political adviser rather than a career civil servant and lacks security experience.
He will replace Sir Mark Sedwill, who is also stepping down as Cabinet Secretary and head of the Civil Service, amid reports of clashes with Mr Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings.
The decision was widely criticised, and today former Tory PM Theresa May, savaged Mr Gove over the decision.
Mrs May, who worked closely with Sir Mark, slammed the move – and questioned Mr Frost’s qualifications for the role.
The ex-Tory leader opened by paying tribute to the reportedly ousted chief mandarin praising his “extraordinary public service”.
She went on: “I served on National Security Council for nine years, six as Home Secretary and three as Prime Minister.
“During that time I listened to the expert independent advice from National Security Advisors.
“On Saturday, Mr Right Honourable Friend (Mr Gove) said we must able to promote those with ‘proven expertise’
“Why then, is the new national security adviser a political appointee with no proven expertise in national security?”
Mr Gove said not all national security advisers have been “steeped in the security world” but they were all “excellent”.
He added: “David Frost is a distinguished diplomat in his own right, and it is entirely appropriate that the Prime Minister of the day should choose an advisor appropriate to the needs of the hour.”
Theresa May shook her head as Mr Gove replied to her question.
It came as Tory grandees piled pressure on the Prime Minister over the suggestion he and his allies forced Britain’s top civil servant and national security chief from his post.
Former Tory leader and Foreign Secretary William Hague attacked the “politicization of official appointments”.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he described anonymous briefings designed to undermine senior officials as “a reprehensible habit of the current team in No. 10”.
The former cabinet secretary Lord O’Donnell warned that political appointees were more likely to be “yes-men” – telling ministers what they wanted to hear rather than “speaking truth to power”.
“I’m worried about the appointment of David Frost as national security adviser because I’m not quite sure how putting a special adviser in that role works,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
Downing Street, however, insisted such appointments were not unusual in other countries and that Mr Frost – who has the status of an ambassador – had spent 25 years as a diplomat in the Foreign Office before leaving in 2013.
“The appointment of the NSA is always a decision for the Prime Minister,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.
“It is not unusual in other countries for ambassadors to serve as national security advisers and ambassadors can be political appointees. David Frost has the status of an ambassador.
“The First Civil Service Commissioner has agreed the appointment. That is consistent with the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.”
Yesterday Downing Street rejected the charge that Sedwill had been forced out and Mr Frost had been selected mainly because he would be loyal to the PM.
“No, absolutely not,”