Gavin Barwell served as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Theresa May from June 2017 to July 2019 during one of the most turbulent periods in British political history. As the Prime Minister’s senior political adviser, he was intimately involved in the conduct of the Brexit negotiations; the development of key domestic policies such as the long-term plan for our NHS and the commitment to net zero carbon emissions; and in formulating the UK response to international incidents such as the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal.
Prior to Gavin’s appointment as Chief of Staff, he was the Member of Parliament for Croydon Central from May 2010 until June 2017 and a Government Minister from October 2013 (initially a Government Whip and then Minister of State for Housing & Planning and Minister for London).
Prior to his election to Parliament, he was the Chief Operating Officer of the Conservative Party and served as a local councillor in his home town of Croydon. In October 2019, he was appointed to the House of Lords.
Taken together, these roles have given Gavin an unparalleled insight into British politics from grassroots campaigning in a marginal seat through party headquarters, local government, Parliament, Ministerial office to 10 Downing Street.
He now runs his own business providing advice to clients including PwC, Barratt, Arcadis and Avonhurst on public policy and geopolitical trends. He is also a non-executive director of Clarion Housing Group, the largest housing association in the country, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Work Foundation.
Suggested talk topics:
Chief of Staff: At a time of huge interest in the person who is effectively Gavin’s successor (no-one currently holds the title of Chief of Staff, but Dominic Cummings is carrying out many of the functions), Gavin is uniquely placed to give an insight into this relatively recent role. For just over two years, it took up virtually every waking hour of his life and in that time he saw almost everything the Prime Minister saw – more than the Chancellor, Foreign Secretary or Home Secretary – and could attend whichever of the Primer Minister’s meetings he wanted to. He got to know the leaders of the Opposition parties and a number of world leaders on a first name basis. This talk will describe what Gavin’s role as Chief of Staff was like and the way the country is actually run from behind that famous black door.
Brexit: As Theresa May’s Chief of Staff, Gavin was intimately involved in the conduct of the Brexit negotiations and the efforts to convince MPs to back the resulting deal. This talk will describe why things turned out as they did, analyse the possible outcomes of the current negotiations and how the UK/EU relationship is likely to be develop in the future.
COVID-19: The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest crisis humanity has faced since the Second World War, a once-in-a-generation public health crisis and an unprecedented economic one. In this talk Gavin will discuss which countries have fared best so far and why; why there has been so little global co-ordination to tackle what is clearly a global problem; how the pandemic is likely to progress; and what we can do to stop it happening again.
Housing: As Housing Minister, Gavin published the seminal White Paper Fixing Our Broken Housing Market. In this talk Gavin will examine why housing is so unaffordable in many parts of the UK what can be done about it; the likely implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the housing market; and why housing policy – and the Housing Minister – change so often.