About this event

  • Date and time Wed 20 Oct 2021 from 7:00pm to 8:05pm
  • Location Online

Register here to join our In Conversation Live with Peter Cardwell

Peter Cardwell, award-winning broadcaster, public speaker, political commentator, and author of The Secret Life of Special Advisers, will be joining Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, RSM Psychiatry Section President, for a conversation about his journalism and political career, including the events that led him to pen The Secret Life of Special Advisers, his new venture with Home REIT, a closed-ended investment company that intends to be part of the solution to the homelessness crisis in the UK, and his thoughts on how COVID-19 has had a negative impact on the political landscape in the UK and USA.  

Instead of charging for this webinar, we are asking people to support the Royal Society of Medicine in these uncertain times. Now more than ever, we need your help to continue our work. Please consider making a donation for watching this webinar. Thank you for your generosity.

Peter served as a special adviser (SpAd) in the UK government for three and a half years. He worked for four Cabinet ministers in four departments; the Northern Ireland Office; the Home Office; the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government; and the Ministry of Justice. It was this experience that led him to write The Secret Life of Special Advisers. The book reveals who SpAds are, how Cabinet ministers use and interact with them, how much influence they have and how they deal with the civil service, it also features numerous anecdotes and almost unbelievable stories about what happens in a SpAd’s daily life – 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.

Part history, part how-to (and how-not-to) guide and part insider account drawing on Peter’s experiences. The Secret Life of Special Advisers will inform and entertain anyone who has ever wondered what these shadowy figures really do all day.

After being educated in Northern Ireland, he studied at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, before winning a Fulbright scholarship to the Columbia School of Journalism, New York.

He was a broadcast journalist for ten years, working for the BBC in London, Washington DC, New York, and Belfast, as well as for Sky News, Channel 5 News, UTV and ITV’s Good Morning Britain. He is a frequent political commentator for the UK and international broadcast and print media.

In his spare time, Peter volunteers as chairman of a trust for student journalists, mentors a teenager in the care system, and spends time with his rescue cat, Jack.

Book your free place now

*There may be slight changes to the advertised start and end times of this webinar, subject to Mr Cardwell's work requirements.

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Disclaimer: All views expressed in this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM.

The In Conversation Live webinar series will continue our much loved In Conversation events, giving you the opportunity to get first-hand insights into the lives and thoughts of high profile individuals, bringing an intimate, relaxed and entertaining perspective into your living room.    

The RSM In Conversation Live series form part of our new philanthropic initiative. All donations from this series directly fund the RSM's vision to advance health through education and innovation. 

Please make a donation today.


This webinar will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels. 

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