Guido usually prefers to do his ‘Meet the Teams’ series earlier on in the Tory leadership race, though given this year half the parliamentary party were considering leadership bids, and a candidate was knocked out almost every day for over a week, it seemed a waste of energy trying to work out if Rehman Chishti had a head of comms. Now we’re down to the final two, let’s start by taking a look at Team Liz.
Liz’s operation, as reported, is currently based out of 11 Lord North Street, though judging by how crowded the sitting room looked when Guido strolled past yesterday lunchtime they may need a larger office soon. Her ranks of helpers have unsurprisingly swelled considerably in the last week, not least with a new swathe of SpAds from other secretaries of state.
Guido has, in fact, already done a meet Truss’s team, when he revealed in January her own SpAd team had swelled to a whopping seven, all of whom are taking a lead with her leadership campaign:
Ruth Porter, Liz’s former SpAd at the Department for Justice – now of FGS Global – is co-campaign director, alongside veteran campaigner Mark Fullbrook. Iain Carter, formerly CCHQ’s political director and now of Hanbury Strategy, is head of strategy.
Long-time SW1 figure Jason Stein has also put his – now severely reduced – weight behind Truss, as her Senior Campaign Advisor. The former Amber Rudd SpAd left government in September 2019 to work for Prince Andrew, only to leave a few weeks later after the prince ignored his advice not to do the infamous Newsnight interview. He’s also on unpaid secondment from FGS Global.
Other SpAds are also driving the daily efforts. Isabel Bruce – ex-Brandon Lewis – is head of broadcast; Harry Methley – ex-Priti Patel – is head of media. David Sforza and Oliver Legard, both also ex-Lewis, have joined. Daragh Quinn left his job in CCHQ’s ops team to help Truss, gaining BBC News fame as he helped her find the exit door to her leadership launch. Not the first time his skill set has been caught on TV, given he also led Simon Brodkin out of Theresa May’s 2017 conference speech after his P45 prank…
Truss is also drawing on other comms experts, poaching Grace Hanson-Eden from Zahawi’s campaign to sort her diary. Senior Press Officer Lauren Maher has taken leave from the CPS. Rohan Watt has also been taken on as a policy advisor and former MEP Lucy Harris is helping to coordinate the grassroots campaign. The operation is scaling up for the hustings road tour with field teams. Team Rishi, we’ll be in touch…