Martin Fraser has been secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach for a decade. Photograph: GIS

Ireland has very few civil servants that have become household names, even fleetingly. Robert Watt’s recent pay hike on becoming secretary general of(...)

Back in 2016, British prime minister Theresa May  with then foreign secretary Boris Johnson and then secretary of state for exiting the European Union David Davis (left): Chris Patten in a foreword to Cook’s book describes Davis as “breezy, open, amiable, lazy and incompetent”. Photograph:  Peter Nicholls

The word of the moment in England seems to be “spaff” or its variants, “spaffed” and “spaffing”. The Oxford English Dictionary, even in its regularly (...)

UK chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond: rose because of the baseless hunch  people with little outward charisma must possess great depth. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

This time last year, another technocrat of crisp appearance, whose decisions could swing the British economy this way or that, was pressed to resign b(...)

The British nuclear submarine HMS Vigilant in a naval base on the  Clyde. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

When a prime minister crosses the threshold of 10 Downing Street for the first time, many formal procedures need to be run through. None is more secre(...)

Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood denied he sought to politicise the queen. Photograph: PA Wire

Britain’s top civil servant has denied “politicising” the royal family by encouraging Queen Elizabeth and Prince William to get involved in the refere(...)

Pat Finucane’s brother Seamus, left, and son John arrive at the High Court in Belfast. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A murdered Catholic lawyer was the victim of British state engagement in terrorism through loyalist terrorists, the High Court in Belfast heard today.(...)

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers:  as transport minister met a lobbyist pitching for planning permission for a controversial rail freight yard in Hertfordshire. Photograph: PA Wire

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has been cleared of charges that she broke ministerial disclosure rules by failing to register a meeting w(...)

Journalist Glenn Greenwald walks with his partner David Miranda in Rio de Janeiro’s International Airport.

British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and home secretary Theresa May are heading for a confrontation over the future of Britain’s anti-terror laws (...)

Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane who was shot dead by Loyalists.

A High Court judge is to examine British government meeting notes before deciding whether they should be disclosed to the family of murdered Be(...)