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This fact was correct when it was updated on 10 Feb 2022

Who is Martin Reynolds?

Martin Reynolds was Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minster from October 2019 until his resignation in February 2022. He previously served as the UK Ambassador to Libya, and was Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary from 2014-2018 – a period which includes Boris Johnson’s time in the office.

As Principal Private Secretary, Reynolds was the civil servant who led the private office of the Prime Minister. The purpose of the role is to provide advice across a range of areas and also oversee the wider office supporting the Prime Minister It is typically considered a route to the top of the civil service, with some of his predecessors (Simon Case and Lords Heywood, Turnbull, Butler and Armstrong) going on to become Cabinet Secretary.

Reynolds made headlines recently over reports into an alleged social gathering which took place in the garden of 10 Downing Street on 20 May 2020, at a time when there were severe restrictions on social gatherings in England. A leaked email showed Reynolds invited over 100 staff to ‘socially distanced drinks’ in the garden of Number 10. A string of alleged parties across government buildings are currently under investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray, who delivered an ‘update’ report on 31 January 2022.

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