Brexit? It’s elementary! Civil servant in charge of no deal preparation is retiring on MARCH 29 (and will be replaced by a woman called Moriarty!)
- Philip Rycroft is retiring early from top job at the Department for Exiting the EU
- Mr Rycroft, who’s in charge of no deal plans, will leave on Brexit day – March 29
- He will be replaced by Clare Moriarty, currently senior mandarin at DEFRA
- Her Holmesian surname has caused mirth with one wag claiming: ‘You couldn’t make it up. The top administrator of Brexit will now be Moriarty’
One of Britain’s top civil servants who has spent months planning for a no deal will retire early and leave his job on Brexit day having tired of commuting from Scotland, it was revealed today.
Philip Rycroft will be replaced at the Department for Exiting the EU by Clare Moriarty, currently the most senior mandarin at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Mr Rycroft was appointed permanent secretary in October 2017 after predecessor Olly Robbins moved to 10 Downing Street to be the Prime Minister’s Europe adviser and chief Brexit negotiator.
Mr Rycroft, who joined DExEU as second permanent secretary in 2016 shortly after the EU referendum, will be replaced at the department by Mrs Moriarty.
She shares the name of Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis and the sensitivity and importance of her role has sparked a number of jokes.
One said: ‘You couldn’t make it up. The top administrator of Brexit will now be Moriarty’ – while another joked: ‘The game is afoot Holmes’.
Philip Rycroft, left, is retiring on March 29 and will be replaced at the Department for Exiting the EU by Clare Moriarty, right
Twitter has had its fun about Moriarty taking over as the top civil servant at the Department for Exiting the EU
Mr Rycroft, who joined DExEU as second permanent secretary in 2016 shortly after the EU referendum, will be replaced at the department by Clare Moriarty, currently top civil servant at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
MailOnline understands he has spent ten years commuting from Scotland every week and is no longer keen to.
His exit has been planned for a while and he has been helping hand over the job to his successor.
Theresa May’s official spokesman said the Prime Minister ‘thanks Philip Rycroft for all his service’.
The 57-year-old mandarin previously served as head of the Cabinet Office UK governance group from 2015-16 and was director general of deputy prime minister Nick Clegg’s office from 2012-15.
Announcing his departure, Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill said he had demonstrated ‘exceptional leadership’ at DExEU.
Mrs Moriarty announced she was a leaving Defra for her new job on Twitter
He said that Ms Moriarty has ‘a deep understanding of the practical and policy challenges and opportunities of Brexit’.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said: ‘I would like to thank Philip Rycroft for his excellent leadership of the department, initially as second permanent secretary and subsequently as head of the department since October 2017.
‘Under Philip’s guidance, the department has been at the heart of the Government’s preparations for a smooth and orderly exit from the European Union, and to deliver the mandate of the people.
‘I’m also delighted to welcome Clare Moriarty to the department. She brings with her a wealth of experience and is extremely well qualified to take up the challenges of the next phase of exit preparations.’
Ms Moriarty said: ‘It’s an honour to be asked to lead the Department for Exiting the European Union at such an important time for the UK.
‘We have a massive agenda ahead of us and I look forward to working with Stephen Barclay and the excellent team in DExEU to chart the way forward.’
Tamara Finkelstein is to serve as interim permanent secretary at Defra.