Chief of Staff


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Table of Contents

1: Introduction 2: Appointment 3: Steadying the Ship 4: Building a Team 5: Working with Sir Humphrey 6: Crisis Management 7: Strategy 8: The Brexit Challenge 9: A Place with No Government 10: Dealing with the Cabinet 11: Shuffling the Pack 12: Media Relations 13: A Tale of Two Conference Speeches 14: Dealing with The Donald 15: National Security 16: Authorising the Use of Force 17: Negotiating with Brussels 18: Chequers and Doing the Deal 19: A Lucky Break 20: Parliamentary Shenanigans 21: Talking to the Opposition 22: Time's Up 23: What Can You Achieve in Two Months? 24: Leaving Narnia

About the Author

Gavin Barwell was Downing Street chief of staff to former Prime Minister Theresa May, following the general election in June 2017. Now sitting in the House of Lords, he was an MP for Croydon Central from 2010 until 2017.


A candid, valuable and insightful account of two hugely consequential years of history. Read it if you want to fully understand why we are where we are today. * Observer *

Barwell writes with a humility and honesty that makes Chief of Staff a fascinating and instructive book...
his decency and pragmatism shine through the pages of his book.

* The Times *
An important historical document and the ultimate insiders story of how a government was slowly and painfully overwhelmed.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, Political Editor of BBC News *
Chiefs of staff at No. 10 see more of what is happening than anyone, often more even than the prime ministers themselves. This fascinating account takes us deeper than anyone before into the opaque mysteries of the turbulent premiership of Theresa May. * Sir Anthony Seldon, author of May at 10 *
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, former UK Prime Minister *
'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, former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer *
An important book. It explains how the prime minister's office works, which means it shows how we are governed. It is a window on one of the most important periods of modem 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, Political Editor, ITV News *
Excellent * Daniel Finkelstein, Times *

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