- Expected 25 Jun 2020
A powerful biography of one of the greatest public servants of all time – Jeremy Heywood – written by his wife Suzanne Heywood.
Jeremy Heywood was at the centre of political power in this country for more than 25 years and directly served four Prime Ministers in various roles including as the Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, as the first and only Permanent Secretary of 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Secretary and the Head of the Home Civil Service. In these roles he was at the centre of every crisis and at most of the key meetings. He served three different political parties and oversaw the transitions between them. He knew everyone in politics and was adored by those with whom he worked.
Jeremy was diagnosed with lung cancer in June 2017, and retired on health grounds in October 2018. He died a week later, aged 56, although he continued to work, supporting the Prime Minister, until the final few days before he died. The loss of Jeremy is one that affects us all. In a divided time, he was a man who could unite and work with people of all parties.
Suzanne began writing this book in the last year of Jeremy’s life, with his full involvement, and has continued their work to tell the story of his extraordinary life in the beating heart of UK politics. Built from Jeremy's own memories, his papers, and almost 200 interviews with others closely involved in Jeremy’s work through those years, this is a fascinating account of life in Whitehall where he was the most powerful non-famous name in Britain.
‘Suzanne and Jeremy Heywood have created a marvellous book which lives. breathes and talks to its reader. There is insight and humanity on every page. It will be a goldmine for historians of government as it really is and it will shine for as long as anyone is interested in Whitehall.’ Peter Hennessy
‘The words Civil Servant seem too dry to describe greatness. But Jeremy was a great man whom I look back upon with a sense of pride in what he achieved and a sense of privilege in having achieved at least some of it together.’ Tony Blair
‘A collapsing pound, stock exchange crash, leaks, scandals, sackings, banks going under, capital flight, sometimes all in the same morning. Jeremy didn’t need crisis, but crisis needed him.’ Gordon Brown
‘Jeremy’s tenacity, that semi-permanent half smile he always used to have, his svelt intellect, and his preternatural appetite for finding agreement in a sea of disputes were, in many ways, qualities that were tailor made for Coalition Government.’ Nick Clegg
‘His was a confidence born of genuine ability, talent and brain. We were so lucky to have him.’ David Cameron
‘Calm, practical, pragmatic, forensic, creative and witty too. Some would say, the very best of Sir Humphrey, with none of the downsides. But I would go further. Surely the legend of our brilliant Civil Service should no longer be the fictional story of Sir Humphrey but the true story of Sir Jeremy. The greatest public servant of our time.’ Theresa May