Top May Aide Nick Timothy Gets Crick’d

The long legs of top Theresa May adviser Nick Timothy allow him to run away from Michael Crick’s Tory election expenses questions…

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. The rumoured £72,000 salary cap for aides has caused colleagues to speculate he’ll be on around half what he was earning at the Mail, a bit of a comedown. It will certainly surprise many Leavers that a prominent Remainer will be taking such a key role – his staunch pro-Remain views are still up on his Twitter accountHas he seen the light?

See the SpAd List in full here.

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. Now she is moving to the Treasury after being poached by Philip Hammond. Congratulations Poppy, though another journalist over to the dark side…

Send any updates to team@order-order.com

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. She had to put out more than her share of fires in a busy 12 months and was a formidable opponent, so is a smart hire for the Home Office. See Guido’s SpAd List in full below:

Send any updates to team@order-order.com

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. Here’s the SpAd list as it stands:

Send any further updates to team@order-order.com

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. Former Osborne aide Victoria Crawford is quitting the private sector to do policy at DfE. Transport SpAd Simon Burton is off to work in the whips office.

Notable gaps on our SpAd list include David Davis’ Brexit department, which has yet to hire. Send any updates to team@order-order.com

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. He is well-liked by MPs of all parties which will help in a notoriously adversarial brief. The long-suffering Sheffield Wednesday fan might even be able to pick up a freebie or two along the way. The Lobby loses yet another leading name to SpAd-dom…

See Guido’s SpAd List in full here.

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. Damian Green has retained Flora Rose at DWP and signed up Matt Hancock’s old SpAd Lottie Dexter. Vote Leave spinner Rob Oxley teams up once again with Priti Patel at DfID. Another Vote Leave alumnus, their broadcast chief Lee Cain, is expected to join Leadsom at Defra. Rachel Wolf is reportedly leaving No.10 despite initially being kept on.

The Times says May will be purging SpAds to cut costs after the numbers rocketed under Dave, apparently a limit of two per Cabinet minister. That will go down like a cup of cold sick with the likes of Boris, Davis and Fox. Appointments are being vetted by May’s chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. Good luck – they are going to be ruthless… 

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. New Secretaries of State are taking their time appointing advisers, meetings have been taking place over the last few days and names should start to trickle out next week:

If you know of any appointments Guido doesn’t have on his list, get in touch

Tom Watson Hires Steve Coogan’s 19 Year-Old Daughter as Aide

clare coogan cole

Tom Watson has hired Steve Coogan’s 19 year-old daughter as his parliamentary aide. Clare Coogan Cole is Coogan’s daughter by his ex-girlfriend Anna Cole, who dumped him after he admitted cheating on her with model Nancy Sorrell and two other beauties. Coke ‘n hookers aficionado Coogan became close friends with fellow enemy-of-press-freedom Watson during their time campaigning for Hacked Off. He went on to star in several high profile Labour campaigns including Watson’s Save the NHS tour. Generous of Watson to repay the favour with a paid job for Coogan’s daughter, who no doubt was hired on merit in an open, full and fair recruitment process. A taxpayer-funded favour for his multi-millionaire Murdophobe mate… up the workers!

SpAd List: May Names New Team

A new government means a new SpAd list and Guido’s handy resource of political appointments is beginning to take shape. Theresa May has appointed her former SpAds Fiona Hill (formerly Cunningham) and Nick Timothy as her Joint Chiefs of Staff. Her former spin doctor and PR guru Katie Perrior becomes Director of Communications. Mail on Sunday journalist turned media spokeswoman Liz Sanderson is Head of Features. Vote Leave alumnus and ex-IDS aide Lizzie Loudon will be Press Secretary. John Godfrey is the new Number 10 Director of Policy.

Ministers who survived the reshuffle are likely to keep hold of their bag-carriers so Guido has included them on the list for the time being. The high turnover of ministers means there are a lot of talented SpAds spending their evenings in Westminster pubs plotting their next move. New departments mean there are more places to fill. Help us fill in the gaps as and when appointments are made by emailing team@order-order.com

Exodus of Labour Spinners

kevin

Jeremy Corbyn’s Head of Media Kevin Slocombe is leaving the leader’s office to go and spin for Bristol mayor Marvin Rees. Comrade Kevin (above right) has been the no-bullsh*t voice of reason among the madness of Jezza’s operation, one of the few Corbynistas who commanded the respect of SW1.[…] Read the rest

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