UK’s India envoy lands top foreign office role

UK’s India envoy lands top foreign office role
UK’s India envoy lands top foreign office role

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Britain’s ambassador to India, Philip Barton, has been appointed as the permanent under-secretary of the UK’s newly merged Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The British Cabinet Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, with the approval of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, announced the appointment on Monday.

Mr Barton previously held roles in the Foreign 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 co-ordinator.

Mr Barton will take up his new post on September 1.

Mr Raab described Mr Barton as “an outstanding public servant and diplomat with experience across all areas of foreign policy”.

“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,” he added.

Britain’s Foreign Office was merged with the Department for International Development (DFID) last month, a move that attracted strong criticism from many quarters. Three former British prime ministers condemned the decision, with David Cameron saying it was "a mistake". The Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, said the joining of the two important departments “diminishes Britain’s place in the world”.

Mr Barton’s predecessor, Simon McDonald, led the old FCO for five years before the DFID merger.

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

Mr Sedwill, said: “I am delighted Sir Philip Barton has been appointed to lead the formation of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. 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.”

Updated: August 3, 2020 06:52 PM

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