FCO chief Sir Simon McDonald on making a success of Brexit and the joke that's stuck with him since childhood

Written by Civil Service World on 31 December 2019 in Feature

As 2020 approaches, senior figures from across government reflect on their highlights and challenges of 2019, look ahead to the next 12 months and share their favourite festive memories

Photo: PA

What was your highlight of 2019?

I’m still waiting for it! (You are asking me weeks before the end of the year.)

What has been the most significant change in your organisation this year?

Preparing for Brexit.

What will be the biggest challenge of 2020 – and how are you preparing to meet it?

Making a success of Brexit.

"I remember one joke in particular (I can’t really understand why)"

Tell us a favourite festive memory from your youth...

As a family – mum, dad, five children – we didn’t watch much television when I was a child. But on Christmas Day, having eaten too much turkey, we settled down together to watch Morecambe and Wise. I remember my parents crying with laughter and the happiness of the day was complete. I remember one joke in particular (I can’t really understand why): Glenda Jackson, guest starring as Cleopatra, asked Eric Morecambe, playing Caesar: “Do you have the scrolls?” And Eric replied, “No, I always walk this way.”

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