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“I first met Jeremy at the Treasury in 86 or 87,” says the economist Jonathan Portes, who remains a close friend. Since well before 2012, Heywood has been the most powerful person in Britain that most people have never heard of. Alas, Cook's vocals are often double-tracked or digitized in ways that distract from the words. “The dons had asked him about statistics, which he’d only just started studying. ‘Bond would most likely underestimate me as a result of my stature — and that could be his downfall!”. It’s a job he’s gone on doing, for progressively more important people.”, In 1990, Lamont became chancellor. “He hasn’t built a rapport with us.” In an era of small or nonexistent Westminster majorities, nosy, troublemaking MPs such as Flynn and Davis are increasingly common. The hours were shorter, the pay was much better, and after 20 years in Whitehall, Heywood wanted a new environment. Warwick Davis might not be that tall or scary-looking, but he reckons he has what it takes to play the baddie in a Bond film. Someone who worked closely with him for years under Blair says: “He can’t stand waste. In 2011, even before Heywood’s most recent promotions, the perceptive rightwing commentator Peter Oborne wrote in the Daily Telegraph that Heywood was “a perfect manifestation of everything that has gone so very wrong with the British civil service over the past 15 years – too cosy a relationship between public and private, too much dominance at the centre, contempt for tradition and the collapse of due process.” In 2013, the Times reported that Heywood was becoming “an increasingly controversial figure in Whitehall”: “not explicitly disloyal” to ministers with whom he disagreed, but “unhelpful to the government”. ‘It’s words at the end of the day and, actually, if you make sense of it but it’s not what the perceived sense of it is, well then who cares, it’s your sense.’. Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group. An earlier version described Civil Service World as an “in-house journal”. From Horseguards Parade behind Whitehall, after darkness falls, the interior of a particularly fine Victorian office is milkily visible through three net-curtained, first-floor windows. In 2013, while at Mc-Kinsey, she landed a £600,000 management consultancy contract with the BBC, thanks to her friendship with Beeb director-general Tony Hall from his time running the Royal Opera House, where Lady Heywood is a trustee. To the uninitiated, it is just another bone-coloured, net-curtained facade in the unreadable heartland of British government. Sad face of Election 2020: Cities (and White House) board up and brace for election riots, looting and a... You don't always have to finish your course of antibiotics: Just one of the controversial suggestions in a... Heathrow's bid to keep duty-free shopping: Britain's biggest airport launches legal challenge to bring back... Electric scooters could have artificial noise alerts fitted to reduce their risk to pedestrians and the... Father who killed his three-year-old son in 100mph race crash on motorway is jailed for four-and-a-half... My ringside seat at this pulsing geyser of squalid petulance: JAN MOIR on the Johnny Depp courtroom drama... Judge brands Johnny Depp 'a monster' who DID beat ex-wife Amber Heard 12 times as he loses £5m 'wife-beater'... ALISON BOSHOFF: He's filmed half of blockbuster sequel Fantastic Beasts 3, but with his reputation wrecked,... Playboy model who was kicked off a Southwest Airlines plane with her seven-year-old son because of her... Brexit breakthrough? But it is too simple, and too convenient for the many people in Whitehall, past and present, with things to hide, to see Heywood’s actions in these areas as wholly his own. “But he does need to worry that he’s become controversial.” Heywood has become the personification of Whitehall in an era when Whitehall is shrinking and unpopular. We are no longer accepting comments on this article. Belatedly perhaps, they have woken up to Heywood’s importance. “No one else had thought of it,” says one of those involved in the discussions. Prime ministers are not sure about him at first. A former close colleague of Heywood says: “There have always been a few people like him in the civil service: very, very big brain capacities, good interlocutors, always in the key meetings – activist civil servants. Just weeks after Lady Heywood accepted the ‘exciting opportunity’, Sir Jeremy — dubbed Sir Cover-Up for his attempts to limit public information — was accused of ‘constitutional vandalism’, as it emerged he was plotting to distribute pro-EU propaganda to 500,000 public officials.

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