Alex Belardinelli, long-time Political Adviser to Ed Balls, is moving to lobbyists Tetra Strategy - where his girlfriend Ellie Gellard already works on digital strategy. The move is scheduled to happen in the autumn after Labour Party conference.
Speculation is mounting that he could make way for a rehabilitated Damian McBride following party conference, when McBride is aiming to complete his public rehabilitation with the publication of his memoirs.
Labour sources say Balls has been unnerved by persistent speculation that he might be replaced by Alistair Darling in a re-shuffle by Ed Miliband ahead of the General Election. Bringing back heavy-weight Damian McBride would put rivals on notice that he would not go quietly and there would be consequences. An implicit threat they understand all too well…
Last year Belardinelli was humiliated when emails leaked in which he admitted a “screw up” meant Labour failed to vote against the reduction in the 50p rate of tax. The emails revealed he concocted a false line to spin to the media to cover up the screw up. Belardinelli worked for Tom Watson before Ed Balls and knows his way around Westminster and the media. In the event of Labour returning to government he will be able to cash in on his extensive contacts.
UPDATE: Important note.