In conversation with Gavin Barwell: the inside story of a prime minister’s chief of staff


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As Theresa May’s chief of staff from 2017 to 2019, Gavin Barwell had a front row seat for the Brexit dramas, deals and deadlines that defined May’s premiership. Brought into Number 10 after May lost her majority at the 2017 general election, Barwell battled alongside the former prime minister through meaningful votes, cabinet resignations and moments of high parliamentary drama. But what exactly does a chief of staff do? What lessons should be learnt from May’s time in Number 10? And just how dysfunctional is the centre of power? To mark the publication of Chief of Staff: Notes from Downing Street, Gavin Barwell was in conversation with the Institute for Government’s Dr Catherine Haddon.

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