Final Special Adviser appointments have been confirmed:
- Health – Sam Talbot Rice.
- BIS (for Fallon) – James Wild.
- Justice – Will Gallagher
- Home extra SpAd – Stephen Parkinson.
- Culture – Joanna Hindley
There was a big fanfare when Downing Street poached the Guardian’s Julian Glover to be chief speech-writer in October 2011. Comparisons with Sam Seaborne from the West Wing were flying around – though that may have been a bit premature – Glover has quietly left No.10 and is now the policy Special Adviser at the Department of Transport. After less than a year in the job, the man hired for his way with words to defend the coalition did not even get a conference speech under his belt.
Sources say he was keen to branch out to a more policy heavy role, but Guido is sceptical…
New Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has also hired Benjamin Mascall to do his media. Until recently Ben was fire-fighting on the education brief as a CCHQ press officer. McLoughlin old Whips Office adviser Chris White has gone over to Lansley as Leader of the House. Other appointments are still being cleared by No.10.
When Jeremy Hunt was appointed as Health Secretary it was seen as “up yours” to his countless enemies on the left and in media. After his car-crash encounter with Murdoch, many saw him as a wounded beast, and Leveson could well slaughter him. What with going on holiday in his first few weeks in the new job, it now appears as if the “up yours” attitude is here to stay.
The Guardian are sobbing over the fact that Hunt is set to appoint the gorgeous Christina Lineen as his Special Adviser. Who? Well that is the problem, Lineen is the Communications Director of Circle Health – the group that set to benefit from the NHS reforms and are currently running their first hospital. The fact that Lineen used to be a Lansley SpAd, before moving to the group two years ago, is being somewhat overlooked in the fuss. It’s a ballsy move though, and upsetting all the right people…
UPDATE: Guido can’t help but laugh at the fact that in all their anger the Guardian have forgotten to check what Ms. Lineen’s name is. It’s Christina not Christine.
As Tory MPs nickname their new Chief Whip “Fifty Shades”, backbenchers have been speculating whether Andrew Mitchell would be taking his Special Adviser Philipa Buckley over from the Department for International Development. Mitchell and Buckley are said to have developed a strong professional relationship, greatly aided no doubt by the extensive international travel required in his previous brief. Since the reshuffle Buckley has apparently been introducing herself as Special Adviser to the Chief Whip, but caveating that she doesn’t think she will be staying long. Why might that be then?
The Coalition Agreement is frequently referred to as the government’s “sacred text”, if that is the case it is guilty of sacrilegious behaviour with Special Advisers. The document promised “We will put a limit on the number on Special Advisers”, the last government had 80 SpAds, yet according to figures released yesterday this government now has 81 up from 69 in the last 2 years since the election. The wage bill has risen some 30% as well…
Survival hopes post-reshuffle for Jeremy Hunt look even bleaker this morning with the news that he has lost yet another Special Adviser.
Lisa Hunter has been poached by Iain Duncan Smith to replace Susie Squire, who was promoted to head of press at CCHQ.
Clearly IDS is seen as a safer job prospect…
UPDATE: Another Hunt SpAd gets in touch to say Hunter was covering maternity leave.
Special Adviser to the Prime Minister Sean Worth is departing government to head up an investigation into better public services at Policy Exchange. It seems to be mid-term transfer season with lots of SpAds looking to move on and out. Worth was on secondment to fire-fight at health and Guido hears, like another recently departed member of Team Dave, he wants to be able to speak out more than he currently can about how to radically reform the public sector.
This is the second prominent hire for Policy Exchange from government – with No.10 policy wonk James O’Shaughnessy also joining their team. Traditionally seen as a bit of a SpAd school, Policy Exchange seems to becoming a rehab centre for them on the way out of government too…
This snippet from Rachel Sylvester’s column, stuck behind the Times pay-wall, deserves a wider audience:
“At Westminster, Mr Balls can be overbearing. An attempt to oust Liam Byrne, the Blairite Work and Pensions Secretary, from the Shadow Cabinet, which was
The LibDems are continuing to claim that they are untainted by BSkyB bid revelations this week. While it is true that Cable’s SpAd Giles Wilkes set the example of how Adam Smith should have been dealing with News Corp spinmeister […]
Hunt’s SpAd has been resigned for apparently speaking to News Corp without Hunt’s permission, but it does not stop there. Section 4 of the Special Advisers code states:
“The responsibility for the management and conduct of special advisers, including discipline,
Well in his head at least…