Former Downing Street Chief joins PwC as Strategic Advisor

06 January 2020 3 min. read
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After spells as a Member of Parliament and Downing Street Chief of Staff, Gavin Barwell has joined professional services giant PwC. Barwell, who was handed a life peerage in 2019, will work as a Strategic Advisor at the Big Four firm, following approval from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

Having obtained a degree in Natural Sciences from Trinity College, Cambridge, Gavin Barwell worked in the Conservative Central Office in a number of roles between 1993 and 2010. That year, Barwell became MP for Croydon Central – a seat which he held for the following seven years.

His tenure was not without controversy. In May 2016, a member of the public complained to the Metropolitan Police Service over possible electoral fraud in Barwell's 2015 campaign. The claims related to the number of leaflets Barwell delivered in his constituency. While Barwell denied the claims and a police investigation concluded in October 2016 that there was no case to answer, the MP was found in a separate investigation to be in breach of the Code of Conduct by Kathryn Hudson, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

Former Downing Street Chief joins PwC as Strategic Advisor

Following Barwell’s later defeat in the snap General Election of 2017, he was handed the role of 10 Downing Street’s Chief of Staff by then-Prime Minister Theresa May. Barwell left office along with May in 2019, but was nominated for a life peerage in her Resignation Honours List in September.

Having become a Lord at the end of the year, Barwell has now joined PwC as a Strategic Advisor. As a Strategic Advisor at the firm, Barwell will work to provide insight on geopolitical and macroeconomic trends.

He will also provide advice on “large scale organisational and transformational change” across the UK. His appointment took effect from January 1st 2019, following approval from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA).

Kevin Ellis, PwC UK Chairman and Senior Partner, said of the news, “Lord Barwell has a wealth of experience and we look forward to working with him. The UK is embarking on a new chapter as it seeks to forge new trading relationships while, at the same time, responding to significant technological and geopolitical challenges. In a post-Brexit world it will be more important than ever to provide deeper insight to our clients as they work through their challenges and opportunities so they can achieve their growth ambitions and long-term sustainability.”

In order to ensure ex-Parliamentarians cannot utilise confidential information they were privy to in order to unfairly lobby the Government, or reveal policy plans to companies who might benefit, they are expected to obtain the blessing of ACOBA. The Committee itself has come in for substantial criticism over the past year, following high-profile gigs being taken by a plethora of ex-Cabinet Ministers, seemingly without any challenge. ACOBA was subsequently branded “toothless” by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.