Cable’s Ex-SpAd Giles Wilkes Heading to Downing Street

Usually reliable sources tell Guido that Giles Wilkes, the ex-SpAd to Vince Cable who is currently writing the Lex column and FT leaders, is joining Downing Street in the New Year. He will be covering the corporate governance and industrial strategy policy brief. His appointment shows how far the government has moved on from the free market neo-liberalism of the last three decades…

Nice guy. Big Remainer and Lib Dem obviously. Giles is vehemently opposed to Brexit and tightening up on immigration – so his policy differences with the PM are only on the core goals of Downing Street. As an ex-wonk from CentreForum he can be too clever by half, he was one of the few LibDems who thought tuition fees were the right thing to do, so he has the required classic political awareness and sensitivity of an autistic wonk. Obviously being an “expert economist” and former bookmaker he managed to publicly lose a bet to Guido on the direction of inflation…

His appointment will infuriate the right of the Conservative Party. Wilkes once described tax cuts as “gambling with taxpayers money”. Giles seems not to understand that it is their money in the first place. Mind you he did apologise for calling Guido “innumerate” after he lost that bet to him.

Guido was unable to confirm the appointment at the time of going to pixel despite reaching out to Wilkes.

N.B. SpAds wondering what he will be like to work with can watch him pontificating about SpAds here.

Taking Out the Trash Day: Nick and Fi on £140,000 Each

Downing Street has chosen the first day of the Christmas holidays to publish the salaries of government special advisers. Theresa May’s joint chiefs of staff Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy are on £140,000 each. There are now 83 SpAds costing the taxpayer £7.9 million a year…

Boris Aide Joins Edelman After Team May Force Him Out

Boris Johnson’s respected former adviser Will Walden has joined lobbying firm Edelman after being forced out of government by Theresa May’s increasingly paranoid aides. Boris wanted Walden, his long-serving, well-liked director of communications, to join him at the Foreign Office. Number 10’s control freakery saw them refuse to sign off on the appointment, so Walden has moved to the private sector to earn a decent salary as Edelman’s MD. A talented public servant lost to the dark side thanks to more silliness from Downing Street…

Revealed: Baroness Scotland’s Bumper Contracts for Aides

scotland

A Guido investigation can reveal for the first time the extraordinary fat contracts issued by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Baroness Scotland to her advisers. An internal probe was launched after senior officials complained that the taxpayer-funded salaries awarded to special advisers Matthew Doyle and Joe Phelan were excessive. Now a whistleblower has passed Doyle and Phelan’s contracts to Guido – they reveal that they were paid a staggering £15,000 each in April, £15,000 each in May and £18,000 each in June. These are vast monthly payments – more than the Prime Minister is paid per month – and the bill was picked up by the taxpayer.

Below are screengrabs taken from Doyle and Phelan’s contracts:

phelandoyle

Both Doyle and Phelan refused to speak on the record. They claim the payments relate to work done between January and September and therefore the money is not excessive. Yet the contracts explicitly state in black and white that these are monthly payments for work done between April and June. What’s more, Baroness Scotland was only appointed in April. Which raises three questions:

  • Why were Baroness Scotland’s advisers paid so much money over this three month period?
  • Why do these contracts state in black and white that the payments are for work done between April and June, if they in fact cover a period much longer?
  • Why was the Commonwealth paying for Baroness Scotland’s aides before she was appointed to her role?

These payments are the subject of an internal complaint within the Commonwealth Secretariat. They are the tip of the iceberg of a cache of leaked documents passed to Guido by a whistleblower. Stay tuned for more revelations about the extravagant world of Baroness Scotland’s Commonwealth office over the days ahead…

UPDATE: A Commonwealth Secretariat spokesman gets in touch to say Phelan was wrong to say the payments relate to work done since January:

“We wish to make it clear that both Joe Phelan and Matthew Doyle were paid by the Secretariat from April 2016 until their contracts expired earlier this month. They have now left the organisation. Your article implies that the Secretariat paid them from January 2016. As the contracts you have published show, this is simply wrong.”

Curiouser and curiouser…

LBC’s Tom Swarbrick New Number 10 Broadcast Chief

SPADS

Theresa May hires another journalist to join her Downing Street team – LBC chief correspondent and presenter Tom Swarbrick is to be the new Number 10 head of broadcast. Big move for one of the brightest young up-and-coming journalists around. Getting the new PM on telly would be a start judging by her disappearing act in the first 50 days…

Send any updates to team@order-order.com

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

SpAd List: New Appointments

SPADS

A few more updates to our nearly-complete SpAd List. Sajid Javid has hired Carrie Symonds as his media SpAd at DCLG – Symonds is a former Head of Broadcast at CCHQ and most recently was a spinner for Whitto at DCMS, she’s well-liked in the Lobby and has a good relationship with broadcasters so is a smart hire for Saj. Simon Glasson, who was one of George Osborne’s many Treasury SpAds, will be Amber Rudd’s third SpAd at the Home Office. Emma Boon is Chris Grayling’s new SpAd at Transport.

Send any updates to team@order-order.com

No Cap on SpAd Salaries

SPADS

This morning’s Times reported that special advisers’ salaries are to be capped at £72,000, a very low bar that would not only rule out talented candidates, it would mean current SpAds getting a pay cut. Guido is told that no such cap will be enforced. A Downing Street source says:

“It is not true that there is a new cap on special adviser salaries. All special advisers will be appointed on merit and paid according to their experience and responsibilities. The rules have not changed.”

Guido also understands that reports each Secretary of State will be limited to two SpAds each are wide of the mark. Some ministers will be allowed larger teams. Someone has been giving some naughty negative briefings about the new regime… 

Project Fear Spinner to Be Brexit SpAd

SPADS

Osborne’s former aide and Project Fear spinmeister James Chapman is to be David Davis’ SpAd at the new Brexit department. Chappers hasn’t been replying to Guido’s texts but the former Daily Mail political editor’s eyebrow-raising move from arch-Remain cheerleader to Brexit adviser is now confirmed.[…] Read the rest

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Sky’s Poppy Trowbridge to Be Chancellor’s SpAd

poppy

Guido understands Sky News correspondent Poppy Trowbridge has been appointed as the new Special Adviser to the Chancellor. Poppy will be a recognisable face to many readers, she has reported on business and consumer affairs for Sky for the last four years.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Tory Press Chief to Be Home Secretary’s SpAd

SPADS

Some more SpAd movements: Guido hears Tory Director of Communications Amy Fisher is returning to government as a Special Adviser to Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Fisher was Chris Grayling’s SpAd before heading up the press operation at CCHQ after the election.[…] Read the rest

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May Hires Top IoD Wonk

SPADS

Theresa May has hired Institute of Directors wonk Jimmy McLoughlin to lead Downing Street’s business relations. McLoughlin, who worked on May’s leadership campaign, will replace Cameron’s arch-Remain SpAd Dan Korski. It’s a smart hire – May’s ‘reforming capitalism’ shtick means she’ll need help bolstering relations and McLoughlin is one of the most likeable people in SW1.[…] Read the rest

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SpAd List: Team May Taking Shape

SPADS

Theresa May’s team of Downing Street SpAds is slowly taking shape. She is is taking her former Home Office advisers Alex Dawson, who used to head up CRD, and Will Tanner, a policy aide, with her to Number 10. They will be joined by Nick Hargrave, who used to run CRD’s political section.[…] Read the rest

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Press Gallery Chairman Craig Woodhouse New DCMS SpAd

A raft of new SpAd appointments is expected imminently and Guido understands the headline move will be Craig Woodhouse joining Karen Bradley at DCMS. It’s a smart hire for the new Culture Secretary to poach an industry insider – Woodhouse is a newspaper veteran, the respected chairman of the Press Gallery and chief political correspondent at The Sun.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

SpAd List: New Appointments

SPADS

Downing Street sources indicate the final SpAd List will not be released for some weeks, so Guido’s spreadsheet is the only place to stay up to date. Since our last update Osborne’s widely-respected former SpAd Neil O’Brien has been kept on to do industrial strategy in Number 10.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

SpAd List Taking Shape

SPADS

Theresa May’s Downing Street team is slowly taking shape – her former SpAd and Vote Leave alumnus Stephen Parkinson is to be given a role. All of David Cameron’s SpAds were told to clear their desks and just two have been brought back into the fold, Rachel Wolf and super-SpAd Sheridan Westlake.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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