Cabinet secretaries … and why Sir Humphrey always wins – POLITICO

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As Britain’s most powerful civil servant, Simon Case, marks his six-month anniversary in the job, Jack Blanchard takes a closer look at the role of the Cabinet secretary — and asks if ‘Sir Humphrey,’ the fictitious character from “Yes Minister,” really does always win.

Jack speaks to Richard Wilson, Cabinet secretary under Tony Blair, about his years as Whitehall’s top official, and his memories of crises including the 9/11 terror attacks. Suzanne Heywood, widow of the legendary Cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood, reflects on her late husband’s long career in government and considers the extent to which unelected officials can end up shaping government policy. The Institute for Government’s Catherine Haddon explains the history behind the role of Cabinet secretary and the many different aspects to the job. And we trawl through hours of archive interviews with past Cabinet secretaries to explore how these powerful but mysterious figures at the heart of government guide the ship of state.

You can find more background material used for this episode in our bookshop.

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