Sheridan Westlake

10 Downing Street

Senior special adviser to the Prime Minister

Super Spad Sheridan Westlake is the only person – minister or Spad – to have survived the entire length of the Conservatives’ period of office since 2010, serving continuously under Cameron, May and now Johnson. A political lifer, Westlake has a number of degrees from Oxford University and spent over ten years in Conservative Party headquarters, with the final four advising then shadow communities secretary Eric Pickles. When the Conservatives won power alongside the Liberal Democrats in 2010, Westlake entered government at Pickles’ side, using his low-key, unfailingly polite – but persistent – style to cast terror into the hearts of civil servants, inevitably knowing the policy better than they did. There are numerous examples, but Westlake once had a disagreement with his department over a single line of policy which lasted a full year. At his leaving do, destined for a Spad role in Cameron’s Number Ten, his boss Eric Pickles memorably told the room: “It has been a pleasure working for Sheridan Westlake.” Westlake also knows the Spad code of conduct and contract backwards, and is the first port of call for any Spad on the up, on the down, coming into government or going out. A true one-off and a political legend.