25 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: PS head Heywood dies

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Sir Jeremy Heywood (pictured), who headed the UK Public Service until illness forced him to step down less than two weeks ago, has died of cancer aged 56.

Sir Jeremy was one of the most powerful and influential advisers to successive Governments.

He was appointed to the position of Cabinet Secretary in 2012 and resigned last month, although he had been on leave to fight his illness since the middle of last year.

Prime Minister, Theresa May said Sir Jeremy “worked tirelessly to serve our country” and called his death “a huge loss to British public life”.

It was Sir Jeremy’s role to put Ministers’ plans into action, which made him an influential though little known figure outside the Whitehall Government district.

He had previously been Principal Private Secretary to Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, Chief of Staff to Mr Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown and Downing Street Permanent Secretary under Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Mr Brown said Sir Jeremy “was a unique Civil Servant who may not always have agreed with proposals from Ministers but always had a positive and often better alternative to offer”.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, Vince Cable said Sir Jeremy had advised politicians from the right and the left and “none of us had the faintest idea what his politics were. He was just the perfect Civil Servant”.

The Government announced on 24 October that Sir Jeremy was retiring to fight his illness and granted him the title Lord Heywood of Whitehall.

London, 6 November 2018

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