New No.10 EU Adviser: UK “Could Prosper” After Brexit

Downing Street have hired Open Europe director Mats Persson to advise on Europe ahead of the referendum. Yet another EU immigrant taking a British job…

Persson is a pragmatist who very much fits with the ‘renegotiate then stay in’ approach. That said, his words from earlier this year on what Brexit would mean for the British economy are encouraging:

“If it goes for deregulation and free trade it could potentially prosper… there is potential there to open up the markets both in terms of going and striking trade deals with countries like China and India, where the EU does not have a trade deal at the moment, but there’s also potential for Britain to open up its own market and lower tariffs, lower barriers to trade, which I think will benefit consumers here. Now the question though is, will British politicians and voters embrace that kind of free trade deregulation outside the EU.”

Guido is updating his SpAd list as and when appointments come in. Email us any names we’ve missed…

Dave Creates Six New Tory Peers

The Queen has been pleased to signify Her intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on the following:

  • Rt Hon Francis Maude

  • Ros Altmann CBE

  • George Bridges

  • Andrew Dunlop

  • Jim O’Neill

  • David Prior

Two former aides Bridges and Dunlop. Maude not a surprise to Guido readers….

Top May Ally Cleared: PASC Rules Tory SpAd Telecanvassing Was Unlawful

A report published today by the Public Administration Select Committee has found that CCHQ were wrong to ask Special Advisers to campaign for the party in the Rochester by-election. Theresa May’s SpAd Nick Timothy was dropped from the candidates list in a major internal Tory row after he argued that demands from Grant Shapps for SpAds to take part in telephone canvassing were against their Code of Conduct. The report finds:

“We therefore conclude that any direction to a Special Adviser to conduct telephone canvassing was misguided, and that advice that such a direction or such canvassing was permitted under their Code and contract of employment was wrong in law… We recommend that Special Advisers should never again be confronted with directions or informal pressure that puts them in breach of the Code and of their contracts of employment.”

Will the Tories now reinstate Timothy to the candidates list after this key ruling?

UPDATE: Labour’s Jon Ashworth sticks the boot in:

“The Parliamentary Authorities have delivered a damning assessment of the Number 10 operation, and we now need to know which Ministers were complicit in issuing this ‘misguided’ advice. Given the proximity of the election campaign, we need a formal government response today which outlines how Number 10 will ensure no rules will be broken over the role played by Special Advisers.”

Broke LibDems Hire SpAds for Last Days of Government


The gloves are coming off between the Tories and the LibDems in the dying days of their coalition. Downgraded Business Secretary Vince Cable has been allowed to appoint a new taxpayer funded adviser – his third – despite there being only 2 months left before the government is dissolved. This infuriates the Tories, and they have let rip: “We all know the LibDems are on the brink of bankruptcy”, says Tory MP Julian Smith; “this is a naked attempt by the them to plunder the public finances to bankroll their faltering election campaign.” Victoria Pine, a former lobbyist, will be paid by the taxpayer until the end of March, during which time there will be almost zero government activity. Cable’s other two spin doctors are paid £60,000 each, though Pine’s salary remains a mystery. “You can’t trust a word the Lib Dems say,’ claims Labour’s Sheila Gilmore. “They used to say Special Advisers shouldn’t be paid for by the taxpayer but in Government this has become just another broken promise. Taxpayers will rightly be asking why, at a time when this Zombie Government is barely staggering along, the Libs think it’s appropriate to add more and more advisers to the payroll.” A spokesman for Vince Cable tells Guido lamely: ‘There are already 3 Tory special advisers in BIS and so, as approved by David Cameron, we have brought the number of LibDem spads in BIS up to parity’.

Nick Clegg has also pulled a similar stunt. The Deputy Prime Minister has two dozen taxpayer-funded Special Advisors, and has added another to the list just in time for the election. Ruwan Kodikara has joined Clegg’s team as the his spin-tastic “Head of Media & Brand”. It would be a tough job for anyone to turn around the Lib Dems’ toxic image in just 107 days, but Kodikara has years of experience spinning for the bad guys. Having been a lobbyist for big energy, bad banks, private healthcare and nuclear energy, is he ready for his toughest job yet? Presumably Clegg’s promise to clamp down on lobbying and create a “cleaner, better politics” has gone the same way of his pledge not to raise tuition fees…

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week: Oborne v Maguire

Today’s Mirror splashes on “heartless” George Osborne giving his SpAd Rupert Harrison, apparently “one of the chief architects” of the “cruel austerity drive”, a 19% pay rise.

The story very much upset Man of the People Mirror Associate Editor Kevin Maguire, who Peter Oborne has the temerity to speculate is on rather more than Rupert:


What the Helic? SpAd Bill Soars to £8.4 Million + + + No. 10 Stuffed with 27 Special Advisers to the PM + + +

£8.4 million of taxpayer cash was spent on 103 SpAds in the last year, a 17% rise on the year before.

Chasing headlines in 2010, Cameron made a big deal of cutting the number of SpAds from 82 to 61. He now personally has 27. Twenty-f**king-seven spin doctors, bag carriers and wonky strategists. No. 10 now has almost half the number of SpAds as served the entire government just five years ago.

Nick Clegg now has twenty special advisers. Nearly double the amount that Jesus got by with.

Why does Esther McVey need a Special Adviser beyond a reshuffle consolation prize, and why is she paid more than dozens of others on the list who report to real cabinet ministers?

Why does the Chief Whip have three advisers at a cost of around £150,000? What are they doing – because there’s no real legislation going through the House?

And finally, Guido cannot fathom why, in his new role as Leader of the House, William Hague still needs three SpAds costing us almost £200,000. Bizarrely Arminka Helic is retained as his adviser on £70,000-a-year, despite recently being ennobled and therefore allowed to claim a £300-a-day allowance in the House of Lords.

What a bloody racket.

UPDATE: Hard to disagree with Angela Eagle:

“Another day, another broken promise from David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

“David Cameron promised to get the cost of politics down but under him the number of Special Advisers spirals ever upwards – the public are now picking up bill of over £8m to pay for his appointees.

“This also shows how you can’t trust a word Nick Clegg says. The Lib Dems used to say that Special Advisers shouldn’t be paid for by the public but as soon as he got his feet under the Cabinet table he broke his word. The cost to the public of Lib Dem Special Advisers is over £1.7million – Nick Clegg alone has more advisers working for him than he has female MPs.”


Herr Llewellyn “Creates Bonds and Friendships” With Germany


Earlier this week a well versed government source whispered to Guido that Ed Llewellyn is holding out to secure the Ambassadorship to Berlin. Well, the latest No. 10 SpAd hospitality declarations suggest Herr Llewellyn has been busy making plans for the job. In only one of two publicly declared engagements, Dave’s Chief of Staff attended the Königswinter Conference, an annual meeting that has taken place since the Second World War “with the aim of improving the troubled relationship between Germany and Great Britain”. It sees “around 80 German and British politicians, diplomats, business managers, academics and journalists for a profound exchange of ideas”, promising to “create bonds and friendships”, and presumably future careers. For you, Eddie, ze coalition is almost over…

Lobbyists Claim Fallon SpAd Retained Whilst at MoD

Back in September Michael Fallon hired defence lobbyist Bill Clare to spin for him as his special adviser. The right-winger worked for Michael Howard before joining Liam Fox’s abortive bid for the Tory leadership, ending up on the side of the angels at arms manufacturers General Dynamics, eventually going on to spin for the London First group. A job that he appears to have kept for longer than he strictly should…

An email has emerged that shows Clare’s old lobbying organisation claiming to have kept the newbie SpAd on their roster while he worked at the Ministry of Defence:

​From: Gavin Hayes
Sent: 02 October 2014 15:25
To: LondonFirst
Subject: Bill Clare


This it to let you all know that as of Monday 22 September Bill has started an exciting new role working as an adviser to Michael Fallen MP the Defence Secretary at the MOD.

Bill will continue to provide advice and support for the Let Britain Fly campaign over the next couple of weeks by phone and email but will no longer be coming into the office.

I would like to personally thank Bill for all his fantastic work on the Let Britain Fly campaign over the last year and for all the support he has given us.

We wish Bill all the very best of luck and success in his new job.

Gavin Hayes
Campaign Director, Aviation
London First

At a time when the MoD were bombing ISIS, why was Clare apparently combining SpAd-ing with being a business lobbyist? Curiously, London First also “work with government and police organisations in helping their respective cyber units”.

Cyber Units like the one recently set up by the Ministry of Defence.

Guido does wonder if this unusual arrangement was cleared with the MoD permanent secretary and the Cabinet Office, and whether the conflict of interest was declared?

UPDATE: Statement from Bill Clare:

My last working day for Let Britain Fly was Monday 22nd September – as they have now confirmed – at which point I closed down my company in accordance with my agreement with the Cabinet Office. I began work with the MOD on Thursday 25th September. The email you’ve been “leaked” is not accurate – so your story isn’t either – a point I understand Let Britain Fly has been in touch to make and to confirm the dates above.

Guido has received no such communication from Let Britain Fly…

The SpAd List: Latest Movements in Full

Guido’s public service blogging brings you the ever-growing number of increasingly highly paid Special Advisers, policy wonks and spinners carrying the bags of ministers up and down Whitehall. Click below to see who they all are:

Click here to see the SpAd list.


Llewellyn Tells PM He Wants Out of No.10

David Cameron’s Chief of Staff Ed Llewellyn has signalled that he wants out. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun on Sunday the exact timings are yet to be decided, though Llewellyn is holding out for a top ambassadorship with Dave reportedly promising his Old Etonian chum the plum job in Rome or Washington.[…]


Finding NiMo Another Special Adviser

Nicky Morgan hid in her office while she had the three SpAds she inherited from Michael Gove sacked back in July. Now she has finished replacing them. Guido is told Morgan has hired up Holly-Lee Davis from the Centre for Social Justice – which is becoming the government holding pen once embodied by PX.[…]


If the Tories Lose in 2015, Blame Cooper Not Farage


Matthew D’Ancona once quoted a “Cameron ally” dismissing the long-term threat posed by UKIP. D’Ancona’s soothsaying source predicted Farage’s party “should reach its peak in the European elections on May 22”, leading the Telegraph columnist to urge Dave to “forget UKIP”, warn “too much time is still devoted to soothing those who might jump ship” and profess “UKIP will not be Cameron’s biggest problem”. […]


SpAd Movements: Truss Takes PX’s Porter to Defra

Liz Truss has landed a big name from wonk world as her new media SpAd. Guido understands Policy Exchange brainbox Ruth Porter will be shopping for a new pair of wellies as she heads off to Defra. It’s a strong move all round, Ruth’s media handling experience will help boost the public profile of ambitious Liz, while another PX graduate moving into the heart of government bolsters their reputation as a feeder club for top Tory talent.[…]


Donors, Aides, Cronies: New Peers in Full

Conservative Party

  • Karren Brady CBE – Vice-Chairman of West Ham FC; Senior Non-Executive Director of the Syco and Arcadia Brands; Small Business Ambassador for the Conservative Party; and member of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Women in Sport Advisory Board
  • Martin Callanan – former Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England; former Leader of the Conservative MEPs and of the European Conservatives and Reformists group
  • Carlyn Chisholm – senior volunteer in the Conservative Party; Co-Chairman of the Conservative Candidates Committee; former nurse
  • Andrew Cooper – former Director of Political Operations to the Conservative Party; founder and Board Director of Populus
  • Natalie Evans – Director of New Schools Network, an independent educational charity established to provide free advice and support for groups wanting to set up free schools
  • Michael Farmer – Founding Partner of RK Mine Finance Group; Trustee of the Kingham Hill Trust; Treasurer of the Conservative Party
  • Dido Harding – Chief Executive of TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC
  • Arminka Helic – government special adviser to William Hague; leading adviser to government on preventing sexual violence in conflict
  • Nosheena Mobarik CBE – businesswoman; former Chairman of CBI Scotland; founder and convener of the Scotland Pakistan Network; Chairman of the Pakistan Britain Trade and Investment Forum
  • Sir Stuart Rose – former Chief Executive and Chairman of Marks and Spencer PLC
  • Joanna Shields OBE – leading technology industry executive and entrepreneur; the Prime Minister’s Digital Adviser; Chair of Tech City UK; and Non-Executive Director of the London Stock Exchange
  • Ranbir Suri – businessman; former General Secretary of the Board of British Sikhs

Labour Party

  • Michael Cashman CBE – Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands constituency; equality rights campaigner; former actor
  • Chris Lennie – political strategist; former Deputy Secretary General of the Labour Party
  • Dame Gail Rebuck – businesswoman, publisher, chairman of Penguin Random House UK

Liberal Democrat Party

  • Chris Fox – Director of Group Communications for GKN; former Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats
  • Cllr David Goddard – elected Member of Stockport Metropolitan Council; former Leader of Stockport Council; former Member of the Greater Manchester Police Authority; former Non-Executive Director of Manchester International Airport
  • Cllr Barbara Janke – elected Member and former Leader of Bristol City Council; former teacher
  • Cllr Kath Pinnock – elected Member and former Leader of Kirklees Council
  • Paul Scriven – managing partner for Scriven Consulting; former elected Member and Leader of Sheffield City Council; former senior NHS manager
  • Cllr Dr Julie Smith – elected Member of Newnham City Council; Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at Cambridge University; Fellow of Robinson College

There are now over 850 peers in the House of Lords…[…]


From Cummings to Cupcakes at the DfE


Right now over at the Department for Education members of the civil service blob are eating cupcakes with the new Secretary of State Nicky Morgan’s SpAds in her office. Quite a change from when Dominic Cummings took a flame thrower to the educational establishment’s blob under Gove…[…]


Former Crosby Deputy Lands SpAd Role

Former lobbyist Chris Wilkins has been hired as Nicky Morgan’s SpAd, after she hid in her office as Gove’s old spinners were booted out. According to Wilkins’ old employers, Populus:

“Chris started life as policy adviser and speech writer at Conservative Central Office for successive Conservative Leaders (2000-05) and other senior Conservatives including David Davis, Andrew Lansley and Theresa May.



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