Top civil servant’s future in doubt

By staff

Cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell, the head of the civil service, is expected to leave his post before the next general election.

Media reports yesterday had suggested the man who oversaw the formation of the coalition government was on the brink of resigning.

But Downing Street and the Cabinet Office hastily made clear the Cabinet secretary was not about to quit.

A government spokesperson said Sir Gus had agreed to stay on beyond the general election to oversee an orderly transfer of government.

This had prompted speculation that he would only remain in place during the coalition’s ‘bedding-in’ period.

But the spokesperson added: “The prime minister is delighted that Sir Gus has now agreed to continue to serve as Cabinet secretary, and looks forward to him continuing to fulfil that role with distinction.”

Sir Gus had served as press secretary to Conservative prime minister John Major before being elevated to the senior civil service post under Tony Blair’s premiership.

The 57-year-old admitted in a recent TV documentary his enthusiasm for the formation of a coalition government, advising David Cameron and Nick Clegg “the more comprehensive the agreement the better”.