Truss axes national security council, sparking ‘talking-shop’ concerns

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Liz Truss has scrapped the nationalist information assembly and merged it with 2 Boris Johnson-era overseas argumentation committees successful a operation that Labour warned risked diluting the government’s information focus.

Created successful 2010 nether the coalition, led by David Cameron and Nick Clegg, to amended coordinate information argumentation aft the catastrophe of the Iraq war, the NSC is present to beryllium replaced by a wide eight-strong overseas argumentation and information assembly (FPSC).

The NSC brought unneurotic elder ministers with spy chiefs and the caput of the equipped forces to absorption connected information matters and continued nether Theresa May, though it met little often erstwhile Boris Johnson was premier minister.

John Healey, the shadiness defence secretary, said that determination was a hazard that the caller committee could go “another Whitehall argumentation talking-shop”. Britain, helium argued, “needs a hard-headed information assembly acceptable to act”.

Lord Ricketts, a erstwhile nationalist information adviser, said helium feared the alteration would “pull ministers adjacent further towards short-term situation absorption and mean that adjacent little clip is spent connected strategical cross-government reasoning – astatine a clip we request that much than ever”.

Cabinet committees are wherever galore of the cardinal authorities decisions are taken. On Friday, the Cabinet Office softly released a revised database of furniture committees including which elder politicians beryllium connected them.

Chaired by Liz Truss the rank of the FPSC includes James Cleverly, the overseas secretary; Ben Wallace, the defence secretary; Suella Braverman, the location secretary; and Tom Tugendhat, the information curate and defeated enactment candidate.

Its instauration is portion of a melodramatic slimming down of the halfway operations of government, with 19 afloat committees pared backmost to five. The others screen economical affairs, location affairs, clime alteration and parliamentary concern and legislation.

However the “climate enactment implementation” committee volition not beryllium attended by the curate for climate, Graham Stuart, according to the recently released list. Instead, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the concern secretary, who has promoted exploitation of fossil fuels and fracking, is listed arsenic 1 of the members.

Other members of the FPSC are Thérèse Coffey, the wellness secretary; Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor; the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Nadhim Zahawi, and the lawyer general, Michael Ellis.

A erstwhile elder Whitehall insider described the determination arsenic astonishing “in an property of hybrid warfare” and said the furniture assemblage looked similar it was “reverting to a overseas argumentation committee” – meaning it could beryllium swamped by a wide scope of argumentation and operational matters.

Richard Reeve, the coordinator of Rethinking Security, a thinktank, said helium thought the merger “may beryllium Truss’s mode of drafting a enactment nether Johnson’s tarnished Global Britain brand”. But helium argued that the premier curate and different members “remain wedded to a militarised ‘national security’ approach, particularly towards Russia and China”.

Truss has besides discarded Johnson’s nationalist information adviser, Sir Stephen Lovegrove, astir instantly aft becoming premier minister, replacing him with Sir Tim Barrow, a erstwhile ambassador to the EU, 1 of a drawstring of elder unit changes crossed Whitehall.

A authorities spokesperson said: “The premier curate has agreed an updated furniture committee operation to champion present connected the government’s priorities. The committees tin sermon a wide scope of argumentation areas that are applicable to their presumption of reference.”

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