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Sir Philip Barton to head up Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Photo by Foreign Office

Sir Philip Barton, a former Deputy Governor of Gibraltar, has been appointed as the senior civil servant chosen to head the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, it has been announced.

Sir Philip, currently the British High Commissioner to New Delhi, will take up his role as the permanent under-secretary of the new FCDO next month, on September 1.

A statement from the FCO said the Cabinet Secretary was announcing the appointment “with the approval of the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary”.

Sir Philip was Deputy Governor of Gibraltar between 2005 and 2008, including a short time as interim Governor in 2006.

The news was welcomed in Gibraltar, where Sir Philip played a key role in the negotiations that led to the 2006 Constitution and in the trilateral process.

“The Government has already sent former Deputy Governor of Gibraltar, Sir Philip Barton, our deep and genuine congratulations on behalf of the Government and People of Gibraltar,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

“This is a very well deserved and timely appointment of a man who is of great ability.”

“This is also very positive appointment for Gibraltar, as the person who will now head the FCDO is well acquainted with the issues that we continue to face on the Rock.”

Sir Philip’s appointment follows the UK Government’s announcement in June of a merger of the Department for International Development (Dfid) and the FCO.

The Foreign Office’s most senior civil servant Sir Simon McDonald, seen as a Brexit critic, was told in the same month he had to step down before the department was merged with the Department for International Development (Dfid).

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described Sir Philip as “an outstanding public servant and diplomat with experience across all areas of foreign policy”.

He said: “(Sir) Philip is well placed to bring together the talent and expertise of both departments while helping combine our foreign and development policy in a way that is innovative, ambitious and more integrated than ever before."

“I’d like to pay tribute to Sir Simon, one of the finest diplomats of his generation, who helped successfully steer the FCO during a remarkable period of change in the world.”

“His legacy of progress and modernisation will be part of the DNA of the new department.”

Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill added: “Philip will bring to the role an understanding of overseas development funding together with experience of international relations.”

“Under his leadership, I am confident that the new organisation will strengthen the UK’s global leadership by aligning our development and diplomatic efforts to bring more coherence to our international presence.”

“I should also like to thank Sir Simon McDonald for his leadership of the Foreign and Commonwealth office for the last five years, and Nick Dyer who has been leading the Department for International Development on an interim basis since March.”

Sir Philip said: “I look forward to bringing together our diplomats and development experts to deliver for the people of the UK and act as a force for good around the world.”

Sir Philip previously held roles in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as Director General, Consular and Security and before that as the acting Chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee in the Cabinet Office.

Earlier in his career he was the High Commissioner to Islamabad, deputy head of mission in Washington, and director, foreign policy and Afghanistan/Pakistan coordinator.