Peter Cardwell lifts lid on life as a ‘SPAD’ in Westminster’s corridors of power

It’s a far cry from Peter Cardwell’s homestead of Richhill but his new book promises to lift the lid on the corridors of power at Westminster.

Friday, 28th August 2020, 11:34 am

Having been a Special Advisor to four Cabinet Ministers in four departments, Peter gained a keen insight in the inner workings of government.

Now, in his tell-all book called ‘The Secret Life of Special Advisers’, Peter gives the public a unique insight into life within the corridors of power.

Peter, the son of Ken and Sandra Cardwell, said: “The book is based on my three-and-a-half-year stint supporting the UK government as a special adviser (senior ministerial aide) to four Cabinet Ministers in four departments.

Peter Cardwell at Hillsborough Castle.
Peter Cardwell at Hillsborough Castle.

“I hope the book is a fun, frank and honest account of what it’s like to work in Westminster.”

It’s his first time as an author and already his book has set tongues wagging across social media.

Special advisers are a part of the government, yet who they are and what they do is much misunderstood. Key advisers to Cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister since the 1970s, their role is shrouded in mystery, despite acres of newsprint devoted to high-profile members of the cohort, such as Alastair Campbell and Dominic Cummings.

Peter Cardwell’s book lifts the lid on the people Piers Morgan called ‘these miserable little creatures’, revealing who spads are, how Cabinet ministers use and interact with them, how much influence they have and how they deal with the civil service. Featuring numerous anecdotes from dealing with counter-terror emergencies in COBRA to explaining what a dental dam is to the Justice Secretary, to having your inside leg measured in a Minister of the Crown’s office, this book has it all.

BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg said: “Peter allows you to peep behind the curtain of a much caricatured but little understood part of our political universe. With the structures of government in flux it’s a timely look at how some of the key relationships in Westminster work, and how they sometimes misfire.”

Michael Crick, veteran political journalist and investigative author (Newsnight, Channel 4 News, Mail+) said: “A book we have long needed. Peter Cardwell’s book fizzes with stories and humour from his experience as an adviser to four different ministers, and his years as a Westminster journalist with BBC Newsnight, ITV and Sky News.”

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