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PUS is off...

It's been openly touted round the bazaars but it's official:

The MOD's most senior civil servant, Permanent Secretary Sir Kevin Tebbit, has announced that he will retire in November after seven years in the job.

Sir Kevin issued the following statement:

"A package of changes at Permanent Secretary level between now and the end of the year will be announced today. I myself will be retiring in November. I will be leaving after over seven years in the job. That is long enough. There will be a competition to succeed me and I am confident that there will be a high quality field of candidates.

"There will be time for farewells later. All that I wish to say for now is that it has been an extraordinary seven years for Defence and a period of real achievement in terms of the success of our Armed Forces in operations, the further integration of a truly joint Department, and the adaptation of Defence to transformation and change. Much remains to be done, but I will be proud to hand over a strong and effective department."

Secretary of State John Reid said:

"I pay tribute to Sir Kevin's thirty-six years of public service. His continuing contribution over more than seven years at the top of Defence has been immense. He will leave in the autumn with my sincere thanks and best wishes."
So...new Minister and PUS departs....doesn't bode well, does it?

For those of you who may be thinking 'who he?', PUS is the chief civil servant within the Ministry of Defence, possibly most notable of late for admitting that Andrew Gilligan was "known to have contacts in the MoD", and that his department had a reputation for being "leaky".

He told Lord Hutton that, while Dr Kelly's job description included "communicating Iraq issues to the media", "if he was challenging government policy in any way that would be a completely different matter".

He revealed that, although Dr Kelly's line manager, after an interview with the scientist, did not think Dr Kelly had been Gilligan's source, Sir Kevin himself was not so sure. However, when he had first informed his boss, Geoff Hoon, that a possible source had come forward, he had not revealed Dr Kelly's actual name. Sir Kevin and Mr Hoon then had some disagreement about whether he should be put before the foreign affairs committee (FAC), with Mr Hoon saying he should, so they "shouldn't be seen to be covering it up". Sir Kevin was initially more concerned "with the need to establish if it was a disciplinary matter".

And the rest is history...

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