What Does Jeremy Think?: Jeremy Heywood and the Making of Modern Britain
The Sunday Times Bestseller
‘Seasoned Whitehall watchers often remark: “It wouldn’t have been like this if Jeremy Heywood were still around.” … How could it be that the effectiveness of the once-revered civil service had become reliant on a single man?’ Guardian
‘This book should be read in a similar spirit to Mantel’s masterpieces – as a portrait of an exceptional man who was always at the centre of events … Invaluable’ Guardian
As a young civil servant, Jeremy Heywood’s insightful questioning of the status quo pushed him to the centre of political power in this country for more than 25 years.
He directly served four Prime Ministers in various roles including as the first and only Permanent Secretary of 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Secretary and the Head of the Home Civil Service. He was at the centre of every crisis from the early 1990s until 2018 and most of the key meetings. Invariably, when faced with a new policy initiative a Prime Minister’s first response would be: ‘but what does Jeremy think?’
Jeremy worked up until his death, retiring just a few days before he died from lung cancer in October 2018. This book began as a joint effort between Jeremy and his wife Suzanne – working together in the last months of his life. Suzanne completed the work after his death.
In a time of political uncertainty, this extraordinary book offers an unforgettable and unprecedented insight into political decision-making, crisis management and the extraordinary role of the civil service. It is also a moving celebration of Heywood’s life in the beating heart of UK politics, and a man who for so long was the most powerful non-famous name in Britain.
(Sunday Times Bestseller, February 2021)