Team Hunt Mixing Business and Pleasure

Party political campaigns raise tricky issues for serving Cabinet Ministers and their Special Advisers. There are stringent rules in place to prevent official residences, resources and staff from being used for party political purposes, so Guido was slightly surprised to see this report last night:

“The Sun can also reveal that the senior Cabinet minister’s official residence, 1 Carlton Gardens, was taken over on Monday by a large support team to help him practice.”

Hacks were also bemused to find their morning Hunt campaign WhatsApp blast from Hunt’s SpAd Tim Smith including information about a Foreign Office media trail ahead of a conference starting tomorrow. Alongside a range of highly personal attack lines on Boris…

SpAds were informed in no uncertain terms last month that “you are permitted to take part in leadership campaign activity whilst remaining in post, but any campaigning should be done in your own time and not using departmental resources.” If a SpAd is doing ministerial work they shouldn’t be doing leadership campaign work, if they’re working on leadership they shouldn’t be doing departmental business – or getting paid. The Cabinet Office might not be too impressed by Team Hunt mixing business and pleasure like this…

Read the SpAd guidance in full below:

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SpAd Moves: Major Departures From CCHQ and Number 10

Guido can reveal a raft of major departures from CCHQ and Number 10. Tory party Director of Communications Carrie Symonds is leaving CCHQ after 8 years working for the party and in government. A true green Tory, as anyone who follows her on Twitter has no doubt gathered, she is off to work in ocean conservation. Guido hears Symonds has been snapped up by Bloomberg to lead on their Vibrant Oceans Initiative at the Commonwealth Secretariat. Symonds will be a significant loss for CCHQ, popular with MPs and the Lobby, she has massively improved the place since coming back after the election. Congratulations… 

She is not the only Brexiter leaving CCHQ. The Tories’ Head of Broadcast, Josh Grimstone, leaves after five years to become a SpAd at Defra. Grimstone worked on Vote Leave, is well-liked by MPs and has good contacts in parliament and the media from his time at Matthew Parker Street. Top hire by Michael Gove.

CCHQ stalwart and Head of Operations Richard N. Jackson is off after conference. He’s heading to Downing Street to cover for 10 months. “N”, as he is known affectionately by colleagues, is a former Tory head of press and has been at CCHQ for over a decade. Another major loss.

Over at Number 10, Guido can reveal Theresa May’s SpAd Ben Mascall is departing. Mascall, who has been at the heart of the Number 10 spin operation in charge of the grid for the last two years, previously worked at the MoD with Michael Fallon, and the CCHQ press office. He is off to make a small fortune in the private sector and will be missed in Downing Street. He is replaced by Rupert Yorke, who is currently David Lidington’s SpAd and used to work for Ben Gummer. Drinks on Mascall.

Richard Chew, a senior adviser in Theresa May’s political team, is also out. He’s leaving to work in America.

Jonathan Stock, a key aide on the PM’s events and visits team, is off to work at Portland Communications.

Raoul Ruparel, who was a SpAd to David Davis at Dexeu, is moving to Number 10 to advise on Brexit. DD’s other SpAd Tim Smith is moving to work for Jeremy Hunt at the Foreign Office. Final confirmation, not that it were needed, that Dexeu has been gutted of all responsibility for Brexit. Dom Raab, having hired Nick de Bois, is now searching for two more SpAds…

Ed Jones is following Hunt to the FCO, Lottie Dominiczak and Jamie Njoku-Goodwin will be moving to the Department of Health with Matt Hancock. God knows who’s going to be working for minister of fun Jeremy Wright.

Localis chief executive Liam BoothSmith has turned down a job as Director of Policy at Policy Exchange to SpAd for James Brokenshire.

Let us know any more moves…

+ Paul Harrison New Press Sec +
+ Kirsty Buchanan to No.10 +
+ Davis Hires Stewart Jackson +
+ Tim Smith to DexEU +

Guido can reveal a raft of new senior special adviser appointments. The new Number 10 press secretary is Paul Harrison, an experienced SpAd who moves from the Department of Health. He is well-respected and a grown up who knows the Lobby. Harrison will be joined in Downing Street by Kirsty Buchanan, formerly a SpAd at the Ministry of Justice and a former political editor of the Sunday Express. She will be working on Number 10’s political press team. A significant beefing up of Theresa May’s spin operation.

Tim Smith, currently a Number 10 press aide, is moving to the Brexit Department to be David Davis’ new media SpAd. A very important job for the next few years and an appointment which shows the close relationship between DexEU and Number 10. Guido is happy to confirm Stewart Jackson is also joining DexEU as DD’s chief of staff – you read it here first. A true Brexit believer and a very encouraging appointment for any Leavers worried the department is going soft – sorry Remainers.

The new Downing Street regime is quickly getting on the front foot. As well as the new personnel, there has been a steady stream of positive government announcements and news stories over the last couple of weeks –  the ban on petrol and diesel cars today the latest example. It’s as if Number 10 has a proper grid for the first time in a long time. The Tories and CCHQ also successfully weaponised the Corbyn student debt shambles – this has been one of their best weeks in ages, a few more weeks like this during the election campaign and the result might have been very different. Punchy, aggressive… a welcome, much-needed change of tempo…

May Hires New Press SpAd

SPADS

Theresa May has hired Patrick McLoughlin’s spinner Tim Smith as her final Downing Street press SpAd. Another alumnus of the CCHQ press office, Smith has been a SpAd at Transport for the last year, taking a short sabbatical to fight the good fight during Zac’s battle against Sadiq. Smith going to Number 10 means the Tory chairman’s chief of staff job is up for grabs…

Send any updates to team@order-order.com

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Quote of the Day

Expelled Tory MP, Richard Benyon, on the short three-day Programme Motion for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill:

“Whether you had three days, three weeks or three months debating this, you would not hear one original argument that we hadn’t otherwise heard in this process…”

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