Institute of Economic Affairs Director General Runners and Riders

Now that Mark Littlewood has announced he’s stepping down as the Institute of Economic Affair’s Director General, one of the top jobs in wonk world is up for grabs. It is a high profile gig which will inevitably attract interest from all of Westminster’s brightest free marketeers. Littlewood steered the ship for 14 years; whoever comes next will have a lot to live up to. As well as formulating policies the IEA has incubated and nurtured free market talent – an important part of its role now the universities churn out ideologically uniform leftists. The job requires a mixture of talents: a policy guru with executive competence and a touch of media showmanship.

Here are some of the potential runners and riders…

  • Christian May – the former editor of City A.M., and prior to that, spokesman for the Institute of Directors has been spinning for corporates for a few years. He has excellent connections in Westminster and the media. If the IEA board are looking for someone in the mould of Littlewood, he’s an articulate media performer with executive experience of running an organisation. An homme sérieux with a sense of humour…
  • John O’Connell – has been running the Taxpayers’ Alliance for the last 7 years. He has a strong record of spotting and developing talent, sending numerous wonks and comms stars into government – talent spotting is an important movement function. Oversaw the TPA’s flagship Single Income Tax and 2020 Tax Commission, so is no stranger to serious academic policy development.  Has successfully maintained the TPA’s high media profile under his watch.
  • Douglas Carswell – currently CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Known for his pivotal role in the long struggle for Brexit and parliamentary defection to UKIP. People forget he contributed to the development of the Cameron’s manifesto and even wrote a best-selling wonk-ish personal manifesto. Has been writing more frequently for the British press of late. Does he fancy a return to SW1? 
  • David Frost – Baron Frost is said to be mulling over applying. The man who shaped Brexit in government has plenty of policy experience and a high profile. Whether the board will want someone who has made it clear they want to become an MP is another matter. He would also probably have to become a cross-bencher or take a leave of absence…
  • Juliet Samuel – the Times columnist is full of policy ideas and original takes on issues. Would she want to take on the demands of an executive position?
  • Tom Clougherty – Research Director & Head of Tax at the Centre for Policy Studies. Previously executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, and then editorial director in the Cato Institute’s Centre for Monetary and Financial Alternatives. Written extensively on pro-growth tax policy, which is probably bedtime reading for the IEA board…
  • Kate Andrews – Economics Editor at The Spectator. Ascended the ranks quickly in wonk world, working at the Adam Smith Institute before defecting to the IEA as their News Editor and then Associate Director. The veteran free marketer with all the right credentials is a fixture on Question Time, to the delight of Twitter. Does she fancy packing her bags and leaving Old Queen Street for another stint in wonk world?
  • Daniel Hannan – Baron Hannan is a former MEP and Board of Trade member. A founder of Vote Leave, and editor of The Conservative. Does the IEA fancy swapping one (soon-to-be) Lord for another?
  • Donal Blaney – The well-connected former head of the conservative madrassa, the Young Britons’ Foundation, latterly founder of Thatcher Centre has long-term links to American conservatives and donors. Would the “Rottweiler of the Right” really want to leave his lucrative legal practice and life in the Florida sunshine for Westminster?

The IEA is not without home grown internal candidates:

  • Shanker Singham – is the Director of International Trade and Competition at the Institute of Economic Affairs, as well as an Academic Fellow there. Currently heading up the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project at Babson Global, part of Babson College in Maryland. Will he want to cross the Atlantic?
  • Alex Morton – Currently IEA Director of Strategy. Formerly of the No. 10 policy unit, Policy Exchange, and the Centre for Policy Studies‘ Head of Policy. Also acted as policy lead on Kemi Badenoch’s Tory leadership campaign last year…
  • Matthew Lesh – Also an IEA incumbent, currently Director of Public Policy and Communications. Previously the Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute. A good media performer, with sound op-eds in the Telegraph, the Times, and the Spectator. Impressed his IEA colleagues enough to add the comms brief to his existing role as Director of Public Policy. Could he go for two promotions within six months?
  • Liz Truss – Served a brief tenure as Prime Minister, was previously at the Reform think tank and is rumoured to fancy running one again. She is apocryphally the politician most hosted by the IEA, though Maggie might dispute that and her Energy Price Guarantee policy really didn’t sit well with the IEA. That probably hurts her chances more than being PM for all of ten minutes. 

The IEA are accepting applications now, so wonks should dust off their CVs…

N.B: The list above is not hierarchical. It is (mostly) arbitrary. Write that cover letter, Liz.

mdi-timer 3 August 2023 @ 15:39 3 Aug 2023 @ 15:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tory Candidates for Mayor of London

With the London mayoral election now less than a year away (!), second rate Tory hopefuls have started jockeying for position to take on incumbent Sadiq Khan. Guido presents an exhausted racecard.

Out of the gates in a flash, early frontrunner Samuel Kasumu was chomping at the bit to declare his candidacy and has claimed some thoroughbred backers, including Priti Patel, Grant Shapps and Steve Baker. As the former advisor to Boris Johnson nails his colours to the YIMBY mast:

“The Tories are in danger of turning our back on Thatcher’s legacy and our Party’s homeownership principles. It is vital for our future that we continue efforts to get more homes built.”

Time will tell if Kasumu has the stamina.

Next in line to the throne, Susan Hall, optimistically put her name forward to deliver the self-declared “common sense” pitch. Hall is a tough on crime trope, with a pledge to form a new Met Police unit focused on burglars, muggers and thieves. Susan wistfully reflected: 

“Not too long ago, London was a safer, happier and more tolerant city. It can be that again. If I am your candidate, we will get there.”

London’s silent majority?

Outside bet Nick Rogers is sculpting a ‘cool’ campaign that promises to “stand up for millennial Londoners”. The Conservative’s spokesman for transport in City Hall has promised a “manifesto for renters” and to axe ULEZ expansion. Former special constable Rogers has adopted the mantra: 

“Who better to stand up for millennial Londoners than a millennial Londoner?”

It’s bold, you’ve got to give it that.

‘Boff for London’ left the paddock and joined the pack today. Andrew Boff, London Assembly member since 2008 and former leader of the City Hall Conservatives, is running on a bumper manifesto to make London safer, scrap ULEZ expansion, restore local policing and build homes. Boffin, who ran his own IT support company, eloquently wrote:

“My promise to every London Conservative if they select me is to bring all levels of our Party together in my campaign, so we not only defeat Sadiq Khan but reconnect with people and communities across the capital, winning their trust and keeping it.”

Nawww… anyway, who’s next?

After teasing that he was “considering” and then “still considering” running, Paul Scully has put us out of our misery and entered the gladiatorial arena that is the Tory London Mayor race. The Minister for London is tipped as a favourite with odds sure to shorten at the bookies and is understood to be running on a ticket of housing, scrapping ULEZ expansion, and Met Police bolstering. Bingo!

One time No. 10 aide Daniel Korski is thought to be planning a bid, while Kit Malthouse has refused to deny a potential mayoral challenge. Other names floating around are Shaun Bailey, Justine Greening and Rob Rinder

Applications close May 24 when the list will be trimmed to 8 before being cut further by a committee to 2 or 3 candidates on 4 June. Voting then opens between 4 July and 18 July. First past the post!

UPDATE: Friend of Stephen Lawrence and former councillor, Duwayne Brooks has been in touch to say he is also in the running. Again.

UPDATE II: Dan Korski will formally launch his campaign at 9am on Tuesday, 16th May.

mdi-timer 12 May 2023 @ 11:37 12 May 2023 @ 11:37 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Runners & Riders for Raab’s Replacement

Dominic Raab’s Civil Service-secured resignation this morning leaves big shoes to fill in the Ministry of Justice. As a big name Rishi-backer, with evident willingness to take on the blob, Rishi will want to get Raab’s replacement right. Here are some of the front-runners in any mini Ri-shuffle…

  • Victoria AtkinsThe Times reports that Rishi will look to opt for a woman, given the current gender imbalance in cabinet. Atkins is the current Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and she has experience in the MoJ from her previous role as Prisons Minister. A successful barrister she would love this demanding brief.
  • Lucy Frazer – Another former Prisons Minister tipped by the Times, Frazer is the Culture Secretary. This would be the second cabinet promotion in two months for Lucy, who has also previously worked as Solicitor General and in Justice. She has a history of replacing Raab in the MoJ, having done so as Undersecretary of State in 2018.
  • Victoria Prentis – is also a Rishi-loyalist lawyer with cabinet experience. Sunak made Prentis Attorney General in October.
  • Alex Chalk – A self-described “rising star”, Chalk is the token male amongst the favourites for the role. He also has a strong background in the MoJ. Chalk would fit right in round Rishi’s cabinet table, having resigned as Boris’s Solicitor General in July.
  • Ed Argar – Currently a Minister of State in Justice, alongside Damian Hinds, either could be an option if Rishi wants a speedy resolution.

Place your bets…

mdi-timer 21 April 2023 @ 11:49 21 Apr 2023 @ 11:49 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Theo Usherwood Steps Down: LBC Political Editor Runners & Riders

LBC’s longstanding Political Editor Theo Usherwood has announced he’s standing down for family reasons, leaving a gap at the top of the station’s news team. LBC has grown massively in the last few years, with Global willing to stump up serious cash for the likes of Andrew Marr, Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall. Not to mention the pocket change for David Lammy…

The question of who might replace Usherwood, or at least become the latest hack to join the Global roster on a lucrative contract, is already doing the rounds. An internal appointment is being considered. Guido hears Lewis Goodall was offered the role, although he’s turned it down because he’s much happier (and probably better remunerated) hosting the News Agents. Ben Kentish, considered a rising star and currently the station’s Westminster Editor, is also a potential candidate. Then there are the external options…

Kate Ferguson was reportedly in Global’s sights, although she only took on the Political Editor gig at the Sun on Sunday last summer. Martine Croxall, who presented her final BBC News bulletin last Friday, was spotted at the station’s Leicester Square headquarters recently – though she’s a newsreader, not a political reporter. She is, at least, looking for more work after being axed from the BBC News primary lineup. The biggest name Guido hears the top brass have an interest in, however, does have the requisite experience on the political beat. Sky’s Sam Coates was spotted by a co-conspirator in the Global offices this week, though when Guido called Sam he made it very clear he is not commenting… could he be after the big money broadcast / podcast package?

mdi-timer 6 April 2023 @ 16:33 6 Apr 2023 @ 16:33 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Political Editor Runners & Riders GB News

The currently invisible on the channel Darren McCaffrey’s impending departure from GB News means the plum political editor’s job is up for grabs. Speculation is already rife over who will take over the leading role at the UK’s second-biggest dedicated news channel…

  • Christopher Hope – Currently Associate Editor (Politics) at The Telegraph. A stalwart of the Lobby and podcaster extraordinaire, surely useful given GB News’ ambitions for their radio station. Chopper’s name is already doing the rounds in the GB Newsroom and would give the insurgent station a big boost. Has notably increased his appearances on the channel recently, even standing in for Andrew Doyle and presenting a full show.
  • Tom Harwood – Political correspondent at GB News. Has been at the channel since its launch, has impeccable contacts, knows a story and has concerning levels of energy that would come in handy during the next general election. Might have to sacrifice his love of delivering early morning free market polemics on wonk issues to make time for more mainstream content, though. Shame.
  • Camilla Tominey –  Another Telegraph bigwig, currently serving as their Associate Editor and columnist. Has presented the GB News Sunday morning offering for nearly a month now, and in Guido’s opinion is already on a par with Sophy Ridge and Laura Kuenssberg in terms of interview quality.
  • Angus Walker – Former ITN political correspondent and Gavin Williamson SpAd. Good broadcaster and Tory-adjacent.
  • Gloria de Piero – Former Labour MP with relatively sound Red Wall credentials. Her appointment would surely be a sign the channel is laying the ground for a prolonged period of Labour government. She has a long history of broadcasting, including the BBC and seven years at GMTV, during which time she was the political editor. Has already produced a series of very good interviews with top-level politicians for the channel.
  • Kate McCann – Political editor at TalkTV. A very similar job opportunity to the one she’s currently doing, albeit with a guaranteed higher viewership.
  • Dehenna Davison MP – Currently Tory MP for Bishop Auckland, though she took SW1 by surprise when announcing she’d be standing down at the next election. Has already presented a show on the channel, and has proved she’s more than willing to be a thorn in the side of the Tory government.
  • Matt Chorley – The top choice for all those TimesRadio listeners who feel continually disappointed they only get to hear his lilting tones rather than see the face they’re coming from. Could even appear on the channel’s humorous paper review show to nick some jokes for his next ‘stand up’ tour.

Good luck…

mdi-timer 26 January 2023 @ 13:13 26 Jan 2023 @ 13:13 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Mirror Pol-Ed: Runners & Riders

The Mirror’s Political Editor job is a much-prized title for any high-flying, ambitious and – most importantly – pro-Labour political hacks. Now Pippa’s moved aside in favour of The Guardian – a paper in need of a regular SW1 scoop-getter – Guido’s turned his attention to who might be next in line for the star prize. Runners and riders currently within the Mirror family are highlighted in red…

  • Ben Glaze – An obvious choice, has played the role of Pippa’s Deputy Political Editor for five and a half years. Is overly familiar with The Mirror’s political campaign line after racking up seven and a half years of reporting for them, though doesn’t spring to mind as someone who could easily step into Crerar’s large scoop-getting shoes. 
  • Mikey Smith – The Mirror’s current Whitehall Correspondent, almost nine years at the paper. Resentfully liked by some in Tory circles for his wry, ankle-bitey writing. A particular fan of sleaze and government transparency scoops. Would he struggle to juggle the new job’s extra hours with his imminent fatherhood?
  • Rachel Wearmouth – Senior political correspondent at The Mirror, set to join the New Statesman as deputy political editor later this year. Guido reckons she could easily be persuaded to drop those plans if offered Pippa’s job. Andrew Marr wouldn’t be happy…
  • Dan Bloom – Mirror’s online political editor. Racks up a decent number of exclusives. Spoken highly of by colleagues.
  • Keir Mudie Deputy News Editor, Sunday Mirror and People. Prolific opinion writer for the website. Could the Mirror go down the BBC route of choosing an internal transfer?
  • Lizzy Buchan – The online Mirror’s Deputy Political Editor, albeit for the relatively short stint of less than two years. Previously of the Independent, PA and The Scotsman. Seemingly strong on Labour scoops. A potential front runner if the paper wants to promote a woman from within. 
  • Dan Sabbagh – The Guardian’s defence and security editor, previously the Guardian’s national news editor with major experience covering Brexit from 2018, currently focusing on Ukraine. A former Labour Councillor and communications guy for Oona King…
  • Jess Elgot – The banter option if The Mirror wants to get their own back at The Guardian for poaching Pippa. Currently The Guardian’s chief political correspondent. Guido’s not sure what would allure her away from her current job… more money?
  • Gabriel Pogrund – Certainly a promotion within Progrund’s ability, one of the best hacks of his age group with consistently big exclusives for the Sunday Times as their Whitehall correspondent. A seemingly endless contact book for Labour stories, with a book already under his belt last year with Patrick Maguire, detailing Corbyn’s slow-motion car crash in 2019. Would presumably have to come with a significant pay rise to tempt him over…
  • Patrick Maguire – The Times’ Red Box editor of two years, with two years at the leftie New Statesman before that. Similar to Pogrund has extensive Labour networks and a good writer at that. Or is his eye on the soon-to-be vacant Politico Playbook editor vacancy? 
  • Emily Ashton – Politics reporter at Bloomberg. Another major contender if The Mirror is concerned about the gender make-up of their team. There is that old problem of hacks struggling to part from Bloomberg’s exceptionally deep pockets…
  • Lewis Goodall – Left-wing enough, might have an eye on a non-screen role these days as his hair disappears. Would make for excellent preparation ahead of a possible head of communications job in Wes Streeting’s government…
  • Matt Chorley – It’s a thought.
  • Tom Newton Dunn – should the TV career come to an imminent end he would have useful transferable tabloid skills from his time as political editor of The Sun.
  • Ben Riley-Smith – The Daily Telegraph’s political editor is known to be looking for a transfer after missing out on The Guardian pol-ed job.
mdi-timer 11 May 2022 @ 16:00 11 May 2022 @ 16:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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