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TrinTalk: Lessons from Brexit

September 24, 2023

To register, please complete the form at the bottom of this page. 

After a brief hiatus, TrinTalk is back!

This year’s TrinTalk theme – Brexit – remains a divisive topic as Britain works its way through the often complicated process of charting a new path outside the European Union. Our panel will go right back to the beginning to explore the motivations and moves that led to Brexit before discussing the various possible options ahead of us.

We are fortunate to be joined for this event by the former EU Ambassador to the UK during Brexit, Joao Vale de Almeida, who is visiting Trinity this term, and by Trinity alumnus, Lord Gavin Barwell, who served as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister, Theresa May, during a turbulent time in British politics. The conversation will be chaired by Trinity Fellow, Catherine Barnard, Professor of EU and Employment Law at Cambridge. Full bios are below.

For those of you who have been to TrinTalk before, the format is slightly different this year with a longer keynote talk in the afternoon, followed by a drinks reception, rather than our more usual four shorter talks. Attendees also have the opportunity to take lunch through the servery before the afternoon begins.

For those who want to make more of their trip to Trinity, author and alumnus Mike Cashman (Brexit’s a Trick not a treat?) will run an informal and interactive session on self publishing political satire in College in the late morning. TrinTalk takes place on the weekend of the University’s Alumni Festival so do look out for more events that may be of interest over the weekend too.

Programme for the Day

11:30am – Self Publishing Political Satire with Mike Cashman

12:30pm – Servery Lunch in Hall

1:30pm – Keynote Talk in Winstanley Lecture Theatre

3:30pm – Drinks Reception

Keynote Talk – Brexit: why did it happen, how did it happen, and where do we go from here?

Gavin Barwell served as Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister from June 2017 to July 2019 during one of the most turbulent periods in British political history. As the Prime Minister’s most senior political adviser, he was intimately involved in the conduct of the Brexit negotiations.

Prior to his appointment as Chief of Staff, he was the Member of Parliament for Croydon Central from May 2010 until June 2017 and a Government Minister from October 2013 until June 2017. He was appointed to the House of Lords in 2019.

He is a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge with a BA in Natural Sciences.

João Vale de Almeida is a senior European Union Ambassador who recently retired from active duty after a 40-year international career. He was last posted in London, until November 2022, as the first EU Ambassador to the United Kingdom, after Brexit.

Previously, he was EU Ambassador to the United Nations, (2015-2019). At the UN, he coordinated the EU’s presence in all UN bodies, with a particular focus on the Security Council and the General Assembly, and its interaction with UN’s Secretary General.

Catherine Barnard specialises in European Union, employment, and competition law. She has been Professor of European Union and Employment Law at the University of Cambridge since 2008. She has been a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge since 1996, and is the college’s Senior Tutor.

Self Publishing Political Satire with Mike Cashman

Mike Cashman studied maths at Trinity 1972-75 and worked in teaching, I.T., project and programme management and international development before taking up political lyrical satire. Some of his political satire and his serious commentary can be found on YouTube at “Britannia Waives the Rules”.

In Mike’s interactive session he will share the highs and lows of attempting to start from scratch to reach national public attention. The session is open to those of all political views!


Please be aware that a rail replacement bus is currently expected to be running from Royston to Cambridge due to planned engineering works on the line. The line from Stansted Airport to Cambridge is also suspended on this date, offering rail replacement buses. To find out more about rail disruptions which might affect you, please visit

Parking will be available in College for those who wish to drive. 


September 24, 2023
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Trinity College Cambridge
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