It’s not me or you who runs this coun­try, it’s a woman called Sue

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Femail -

I WAS meet­ing Cab­i­net Of­fice Min­is­ter Oliver Letwin in the small restau­rant tucked away in the No10 base­ment. At one point, I qui­etly sug­gested a mi­nor re­or­gan­i­sa­tion of gov­ern­ment.

‘My dear boy,’ said Oliver, chuck­ling. ‘It is sim­ply im­pos­si­ble. Im­pos­si­ble.’

‘Why?’ I replied. ‘If the PM wants it…’

‘Oh David, how charm­ingly naive you are,’ came the re­ply. ‘The PM doesn’t de­cide these things! When I was first in

gov­ern­ment, I as­sumed, like you, that if the PM wanted some­thing, it just hap­pened. Then I re­alised it wasn’t that sim­ple; that power lies else­where. I as­sumed the Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary must be the real source of power. I was wrong there too. Then I sus­pected it must be the Head of the Home Civil Ser­vice – wrong again.’

Now shak­ing un­con­trol­lably with laugh­ter, and strug­gling to avoid spray­ing half-drunk cof­fee across the ta­ble, Oliver only just man­aged to blurt out: ‘It took me pre­cisely two years be­fore I re­alised fi­nally who it is that runs Bri­tain. Our great United King­dom is ac­tu­ally en­tirely run by a lady called Sue Gray, the Head of Ethics or some­thing in the Cab­i­net Of­fice.

‘Un­less she agrees, things just don’t hap­pen. Cab­i­net reshuf­fles, de­part­men­tal re­or­gan­i­sa­tions, the whole lot – it’s all down to Sue Gray. Noth­ing moves in White­hall un­less Sue says so. She gets to cen­sor our mem­oirs too! Our poor, de­luded vot­ers think the Prime Min­is­ter holds the reins of power. Wrong! The truth is our real leader, Sue Gray, sits at a small desk in the Cab­i­net Of­fice. If only the Chi­nese and the Rus­sians knew! They have prob­a­bly been bug­ging all the wrong phones for years.’ He then de­scended into an­other fit of gig­gles.

IN CHARGE: Cab­i­net Of­fice’s Sue Gray wields the power at West­min­ster

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