Saj’s SpAd Wooing

Eyebrows were raised across departments today as SpAds found an invite from one Sajid Javid in their inbox to drinks with him this Thursday. According to a source, Sajid is now co-opting the weekly SpAd drinks, often hosted by Sheridan Westlake at various Westminster watering holes, where occasionally an embassy or other body will offer to host thirsty advisors hoping to destress. According to one SpAd, however, this is the first time they’ve seen a Cabinet Minister take up hosting duties. 

The event is set to be hosted in the Department for Health, although one recipient noted the RSVP address is a parliamentary email address, raising questions about who’s paying for the booze. Wouldn’t hurt to have cabinet ministers’ most loyal aides on-side if any leadership vacancy arises in the coming months, eh…

mdi-timer 27 June 2022 @ 16:06 27 Jun 2022 @ 16:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
CCHQ Press Chief Finally Enters SpAd-dom

Guido can reveal that CCHQ’s long-serving head of press, Harriet Smith, has finally achieved SpAd-dom after almost seven years working for the party. Smith joins newly-appointed chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris. Guido’s old enough to remember the Mail reporting Smith would never make the jump…

The news follows the appointment of Oscar Reddrop to replace Ed Oldfield as No. 10’s broadcast SpAd over the weekend. Hopefully his work in No. 10 creates better output than his time on the Shaun Bailey mayoral campaign…

There’s still one gap following February’s night of the long knives, which saw the infamous clear-out of No. 10 staff. In the wake of Munira Mirza’s departure from the policy unit Elena Narozanski followed her out the door, leaving a gap as No. 10’s ‘Women & Equalities, DCMS and Extremism” adviser. Surely a crucial position to have vacant as they introduce the Online Harms Bill to parliament…

Read the SpAd list in full below:

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mdi-timer 16 March 2022 @ 13:01 16 Mar 2022 @ 13:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Meet Truss’s New Advisers in Her 7-Strong Team

The focus on Liz Truss as next Tory leader has rocketed in recent weeks and she’s been quietly swelling her top team of SpAds behind the scenes to match the scrutiny. Guido can now reveal she has seven advisers working for her, just one short of Rishi’s joint No. 10 & 11 unit, two more than Raab ever had and four more than Jeremy Hunt under May. Alongside her long-time SpAds Sophie Jarvis and Adam Jones – head of media and comms – Jamie Hope joined in April 2021 from the CRD.

Last week Guido learnt that Lord Frost’s advisors – Hugh Bennett and Christopher Jenkins – had formally joined the Truss tent, while still both working for the policy unit and the Attorney General Suella Braverman respectively. Providing a major boost to Truss’s Brexit credentials…

In addition, Liz has taken on two additional SpAds. Reuben Solomon, formerly CCHQ’s head of digital and bfore that a manager for 4 years at Lynton Crosby’s CTF outfit, potentially helping Liz get on par with Rishi’s notoriously fancy social media graphics. Finally, Sarah Ludlow has joined as her parliamentary SpAd after six years at comms agency Portland, prior to which she was a press advisor at CCHQ and an MP staffer for, among others, Rory Stewart. A source says all this reflects Liz’s big brief, which now of course covers foreign relations, diplomacy, the Commonwealth, foreign aid, Brexit negotiating, Women and equalities… no other reason to beef up her team.

As always, get in touch with future changes here, and you can read the full list of government SpAds below…

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mdi-timer 19 January 2022 @ 11:42 19 Jan 2022 @ 11:42 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Dan Rosenfield: “No Imagination, No Vision. Not Even Good Man-Management Skills”

Boris’s Chief of Staff, Dan Rosenfield, has come under renewed fire from government insiders today. On Saturday The Times published a damning profile on the “demoralised” state of No. 10, laying bare the now gaping rift within the Downing Street hierarchy. Multiple sources tell Guido the piece was on the money…

Following Cummings’s departure from Downing Street, No. 10 was desperate to hire a new chief of staff who would bring some order to the top of government. While one source tells Guido Rosenfield has sped up some decision making (“Dom sat on things for too long”) there are now persistent accusations that far from being neutral, Rosenfield “does have an agenda” of his own. Whilst the quiet professionalism of Rosenfield was initially welcomed following Cumming’s pantomime departure, it’s now felt he’s taken the role too far the other way:

“Bring a longtime Treasury official into a top political post, surprise surprise they act like a Treasury official. No imagination, no vision. Not even good man-management skills”

The departure of long-time aide Nikki de Costa from Downing Street is also seen as “very worrying”, with sources allied to her claiming a big part of her reasons for leaving are because she’s fed up of the way [Dan’s] running things”. 

Asked whether Rosenfield will survive, one government source said it wouldn’t look disastrous to sack him now, pointing out no one “cares about this stuff” other than SW1 insiders. One source cited recent rumours that Rosenfield had been making inquiries to mates in the City about the possibility of needing a job soon…

mdi-timer 19 July 2021 @ 16:30 19 Jul 2021 @ 16:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
April SpAd List Update in Full

It turns out it’s rather tricky getting the latest SpAd list in full from government advisors without lashings of complimentary booze at the Two Chairmen. Guido can finally bring you the latest changes in full since his last big update in December.

One of the more interesting structural changes is the appearance of a new, formal data unit in No. 10 – a Cummings legacy of sorts – consisting of Ben Warner (who’s been separated out of the policy unit), Logan Graham (who once apparently used machine learning to try and get to the moon while working in San Francisco) and Philip Peters.

Two out of Alister Jack’s SpAds have also been shipped up to Holyrood to try and save the UK, now labelled on the official list as “Union“.

The other movers and shakers are as follows:

  • Cabinet Office
    • Andrew Hood, former Labour advisor, defects and joins Gove’s team
  •  COP26
    • Cleo Watson joins
  • DEFRA
    • Saratha Rajeswaran leaves
    • Megan Trethewey is set to join
  • DCMS
    • Amy Milner makes the leap from CCHQ
  • FCDO
    • Sally Rushton joins, formerly a George Osborne staffer
  • HMT/No. 10 joint economic unit
    • James Nation joins
  • MoD
    • Edwina Thomas joins
    • Lucia Hodgson departs. Formerly a press secretary in No. 10, she will be reunited with Sir Robbie Gibb at his new lobbying venture Kekst-CNC
  • No. 10 Private office
    • Henry Cook joins from the press team
    • Meg Powell-Chandler joins from the press team
  • No. 10 Press office
    • Steph Lis joins after the dissolving of the Brexit unit
  • No. 10 Policy unit
    • Ross Allan now listed under the PU
  • No. 10 Legislative affairs
    • Alex King joins full time
    • Katharine Howell steps away on maternity leave
  • No. 10 Events
    • Clare King departs
  • No. 10 Political office
    • Catherine Rostron no longer listed, though is still working in Boris’s parliamentary office
    • Charlotte Owen joins
  • No. 10 Project management
    • The opaque-sounding unit has been fully cleared out following the recent departure of Cummings ally Ed Whitehead
  • No. 10 Data Unit
    • Ben Warner
    • Logan Graham
    • Philip Peters
  • Scotland Union Unit in Holyrood
    • John Cooper
    • Tom Peterkin

As always, get in touch with future changes here, and read the list in full below…

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mdi-timer 8 April 2021 @ 13:06 8 Apr 2021 @ 13:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Team Hunt’s Quiet Leadership Threat

Despite yesterday’s tax-raising budget, Rishi’s “next PM” odds saw a huge boost, from 21% chance to 29% in the space of a few hours. Another point of note is that Jeremy Hunt is in third place on 8% after Keir Starmer, ahead of every other member of the government. Could Hunt’s chances of a successful second run be being underplayed however?

While Rishi’s slick comms operation is now under constant scrutiny, Hunt’s also had a ‘good pandemic’ thanks in no small part to two key former SpAds who have taken to working for Hunt even now he’s outside of government:

  • Christina Robinson now runs the Health Committee chair’s comms in a private capacity (thus doesn’t appear on his official staffing register) after SpAding for him between 2012 to 2019, and helping run his 2019 leadership campaign.
  • Fellow former SpAd Adam Smith – who was resigned in 2012 following the BskyB scandal – is also hired as his Chief of Staff.
  • Hunt’s even got his own health advisor – Dr Raf Kochaj – to advise on Covid.

Guido can think of a few cabinet ministers with less organised advisor set-ups…

Hunt made slashing corporation tax to just 12.5% his big post-Brexit pitch to Tory members last time around, to mach Ireland’s competitiveness. A well organised, tax cutting opponent should give Rishi pause for thought after he yesterday became the first chancellor – of any party – to raise corporation tax since 1974…

mdi-timer 4 March 2021 @ 11:15 4 Mar 2021 @ 11:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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