Boris Johnson beefs up Downing Street in wake of Partygate saga

LONDON — Boris Johnson moved to beef up his office at the expense of the U.K.’s Cabinet Office in the wake of a damaging row over lockdown-busting parties.

Johnson promised a shake-up of the Whitehall machine amid the so-called Partygate saga, which saw his administration heavily-criticized for a series of coronavirus rule-breaching gatherings in government departments.

In a reorganization notified to government staff in an email first reported on by the Times, No.10 will take on the Joint Intelligence Organization, a British intelligence agency; and the National Security Secretariat, which in recent months has played a key role in the U.K.’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

No.10 will also get a hold of the Government in Parliament Group, tasked with the delivery of the government’s legislative program; and the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat, which helps coordinate domestic policy across government.

The government said the changes would see teams in No. 10 and the Cabinet Office more clearly split in two distinct groups, headed up by top officials Samantha Jones and Alex Chisholm respectively.

“As we set out earlier in the year, steps are being taken to further strengthen the operation of both No. 10 and the Cabinet Office so they are best placed to deliver for the public now and in the future,” a government spokesperson said. “Work to deliver these plans is ongoing.”

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