Trade secretary Liz Truss will move into the office used by James Bond author Ian Fleming when the Department for International Trade moves to the Old Admiralty building in Westminster next month.
Truss will use “Room 39”, which was the home of the Naval Intelligence Division when Fleming was a naval intelligence officer during World War II. From there, she will lead a team of top trade negotiators.
Some 2,000 DIT civil servants will move to the OAB, giving it one central base for the first time. The department’s staff are currently spread across four sites.
Truss is reported to have told friends the move will give her a “licence to trade”.
A source close to her told The Telegraph that DIT is “keen to do some sort of James Bond-themed export stunt at some point” to capitalise on the connection.
“It fits with Liz’s vision for using trade to project Global Britain and leveraging our soft cultural power,” she said.
This month, DIT will set up its headquarters in the OAB, which has been undergoing a £60m refurbishment. The government contracted Willmott Dixon to fit out the grade II-listed building into office space for 2,400 people, as well as adding lifts and removing asbestos.
The freehold for the building, which was built in 1895, was owned by the Department for Education before the department gifted it to the Government Property Agency last month.
DfE has initially been expected to move into the building, but the space was turned over to the GPA after it was decided its staff would remain in the Sanctuary Buildings HQ in Whitehall.
A government source told The Telegraph that DIT’s move to the Old Admiralty building will “help bring the department closer together both operationally and geographically, and create a stronger sense of a single team”.
“The department has had a great 18 months, but it’s hindered by being split between multiple locations and not having a permanent home,” they said.
Other famous figures to have worked at the OAB include former prime minister Winston Churchill when he was first lord of the admiralty.