Skip to main content
Patrick Law 540

Patrick Law

Post Graduate Researcher

Research interests

  • Politics

Biography

Patrick is based in the Strand Group and is conducting research (part-time) into how Downing Street operated during the Blair government of 1997- 2007 focusing on the emergence of the Chief of Staff. Before 1997 no PM had a substantive Chief of Staff; post Blair all PMs have used one at some point. The research will assess the role, impact and importance of this innovation and what it tells us about the Blair government. It will be undertaken with specific reference to Jonathan Powell who was Chief of Staff for all 10 years of Blair’s government. The research will be archival based and is possible as government papers in the National Archive are now available after 20 rather than 30 years. This will be supplemented with elite interviews with civil servants, political advisers and former ministers.

Previously, Patrick took an MA in Contemporary History and Politics at King College, London. He has published two long reads in the Independent on David Cameron’s rationale for the Brexit referendum and (with Dr Michelle Clement) on Blair’s Chief of Staff. He has also published (with Sir Michael Barber) a study of education secretaries. In 2021 he won the Cabinet Secretary’s essay prize.

Before returning to academic studies, Patrick had a long private sector career as a Communications/Government Relations Director with British Gas, Centrica, Barratt Developments and the Guinness Partnership. He is now an independent communications consultant. He has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

Research Interests

  • The emergence and impact of the PM’s Chief of Staff
  • The operation of Downing Street
  • The development of New Labour
  • Prime Ministers and their support staff
  • Neil Kinnock’s Shadow Communications Agency

Publications

Why did David Cameron decide to hold a referendum? The Independent 

What lessons from history can Keir Starmer draw on when choosing his chief of staff? (with Dr Michelle Clement) The Independent

How Seventeen Secretaries of State for Education, through Thirty Years of Constant Change, Enabled the System to Improve? (with Sir Michael Barber) Foundation for Educational Development