A timely and revelatory memoir by Theresa May’s Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell
Published in the wake of yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle, Chief of Staff reveals what really goes on behind closed doors in Downing Street at such moments of high drama. This is a gripping insider account from deep within the engine room of power.
The book sheds a vital light on Theresa May, the most inscrutable of modern prime ministers. In her darkest hour, following the disastrous 2017 election, the PM turned to Gavin Barwell to help restore her battered authority. He would become her chief of staff for the next two years – a period punctuated by fraught Brexit negotiations, domestic tragedy and unprecedented political turmoil.
Gavin was by her side when she met Donald Trump, heard about the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury, and responded to the Grenfell Tower fire. He was at the centre of Brexit talks with foreign leaders and MPs from across the House, including Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer.
Revealing how government operates during times of immense pressure, CHIEF OF STAFF is the definitive record of a momentous episode in Britain’s recent political history: one with far-reaching consequences for the future of the United Kingdom.
‘Gavin Barwell was in the room where it happens. This is a riveting, first-hand account of Britain’s white-knuckle ride through the years after Brexit. Read it if you want to understand the country we live in today’ George Osborne
‘Chief of Staff takes us beyond the corridors of power and provides a unique insight into the nerve centre of decision-making in No.10 Downing Street’ Gordon Brown
‘An important historical document and the ultimate insider’s story of how a government was slowly and painfully overwhelmed. A meticulous account of a tortured period of our politics, revealing for the first time what really happened in Downing Street’ Laura Kuenssberg
‘An important book that shows how we are governed. This is a window on one of the most important periods of modern political history: the Brexit negotiation years. Barwell is candid about the mistakes that were made, about how emotion and stupidity will often trump reason, and about the comedy of so much of government. Essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest in politics’ Robert Peston