Gavin Barwell

Former Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Theresa May

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Theresa May's right-hand man throughout the Brexit negotiations
Offers an unparalleled insight into domestic and international policy and what that means for our future
Author of Chief of Staff, a gripping insider account from deep within the engine room of power

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, DLA Piper, Barratt, Arcadis, Canopius and Bute Energy 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.

Gavin’s book Chief of Staff, the inside account of the May administration, was published by Atlantic Books in 2021.

Suggested Talks:

Chief of Staff: Gavin is uniquely placed to give an insight into this 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 Prime 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.

Britain’s Role in a post-Brexit World: Initially as a Government Minister, and subsequently as Theresa May’s Chief of Staff, Gavin was intimately involved in the conduct of the Brexit negotiations and the geopolitical decision-making that takes place at the heart of the UK Government. This talk will describe how we got to where we are today, and what Britain, and British businesses, must do to thrive and maintain their positions of authority on the global stage.

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 implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the housing market; and why housing policy – and the Housing Minister – change so often.

Geopolitical Risks: Businesses have faced unprecedented disruption in recent years from Brexit, the COVID pandemic, the war in Ukraine and increasing tension between the democracies and China. Gavin explores the underlying trends driving this increased risk, what other risks businesses should be monitoring and how they can mitigate those risks.

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