Cummings Threatens SpAds as Civil Service Hold Up Resignations

As SpAds resign next week for the election, Dominic Cummings used his weekly meeting with them to issue threats over complacency. Guido understands Cummings told the bag carriers to thank their private offices as he will be asking ministers and civil servants if their SpAds are “sh*t or not”. Their performance during the election campaign will also determine whether they’re kept on or not afterwards. Guido has some personal SpAd reviews he is happy to pass on…

Guido also hears SpAds are actually struggling to resign in the first place. Many advisors want to step down and get to work in CCHQ’s election campaign machine from Monday, but many are being told by the Cabinet Office that they’ll lose their severance package entitlement if they quit before Thursday.

The Civil Service may want to pick their fights carefully at this time, however, as Cummings used last night’s meeting to “go big” on labouring his pledge for “fundamental reform” of the civil service as a post-election project – asking for ideas from SpAds. First suggestion from Guido is more transparency / leaks please…

UPDATE: Civil Service specifically accusing Helen MacNamara of “being a nightmare” over this. The civil service are also being accused by SpAds of refusing to sanction policies which they see as attempting to influence the election (even though they’ve been refusing projects since before the election bill passed), whilst at the same time preventing them from resigning. They’re in as much a state of purgatory as the Commons…

SpAd List: Kwarteng Gets First SpAd

Following the resignation of Jo Johnson, his former SpAd Iain Mansfield has now joined BEIS as Kwasi Kwarteng’s first SpAd. A convenient transfer…

Guido also learns that Simon Jones has left Downing Street’s Business Relations Department after 4 years of SpAd-ing, writing on his Facebook that he has “decided to take some [time] out to plan new adventures”. No news as to where he has gone…

See the full list here:

Downing Street Hires Digital Communications Chief from LadBible

Peter Heneghan has joined the Cabinet Office in Downing Street as head of digital communications, he was formerly in a similar role at LADbible and before that Buzzfeed. If anyone should know how to reach that difficult to reach Leave-backing-lads demographic, it is this Irishman. Strictly speaking Heneghan is not a SpAd he is a civil servant, so we have not added him to the SpAd List.

SpAds have been listed by Guido in order of seniority. If any SpAds reading the list disagree with this hierarchy, feel free to send in your contracts for us to double check…

See the full list here:

Complete Definitive SpAd List 2.0

Guido’s SpAd list is the definitive list of appointed Special Advisers in government. With the revisions below this is the complete list of SpAds in government as of this morning.  Guido has added in a number of new appointments and reformatted the layout for ease of comprehension. We have also added more departmental information, in the light of the new Brexit units. Enjoy…

New additions to the list include:

  • Jennifer Powell – Treasury
  • Charlie Rowley – Cabinet Office
  • Emma Dean – Health
  • Cleo Watson – No. 10’s Private Office
  • Sam Richards – No. 10’s Policy Unit: Energy & Environment
  • Will Warr – No. 10’s Policy Unit: Health & Social Care, Life Sciences and Technology
  • Samuel Kasumu – No. 10’s Civil Society Unit
  • Chris James – No. 10’s Legislative Affairs Team
  • Chloe Sarfaty – No. 10’s Events and Visits Team
  • James Sproule and Simon Jones – No. 10’s Business Relations Team
  • David Beckingham and Alex Crowley – No. 10’s Political Team

Note that Tim Pitt is no longer listed as a Treasury SpAd.

SpAds have been listed by Guido in order of seniority. If any SpAds reading the list disagree with this hierarchy, feel free to send in your contracts for us to double check…

See the full list here:

Will Walden Has Left Downing Street

Will Walden has left Downing Street and gone back to lobbyists Edelman, where he is the Executive Director. Walden was the man who guided Boris through his mayoralty and followed him to the Foreign Office before joining Edelman in 2017. Will admitted he was impressed that Carrie had finally managed where he had failed for years – to smarten Boris up and get him to tuck his shirt in.

Walden came back to help out on the leadership campaign in May, particularly with the preparation for TV debates, hustings and major media interviews. He only went with Boris to Downing Street to help with the initial bedding in. Boris would have liked to have kept him, Will however always intended to go back to the private sector.

Keep up to date with all the SpAd moves in Downing Street

Guido’s Loss is Mogg’s Gain

Guido can confirm that our news editor and resident grammarian, Hugh Bennett, is joining the government as Jacob Rees Mogg’s SpAd. He will be helping the Leader of the House get Brexit through the Commons. His unflappable calmness under pressure will be tested in the coming weeks…

Hugh joined Guido from Brexit Central last year, before that he worked on the Vote Leave campaign, so he is used to working with Dominic Cummings. Many of you will have become familiar with him from his many TV appearances putting the case for Brexit calmly and with an unrivaled grasp of the details. He will be uncompromising in making sure Brexit happens on October 31.

When Hugh was head-hunted to Guido he made it clear that it was his intention to eventually become a SpAd. At the time he was worried that working at Guido might be an obstacle to his ambition. Given he is the third current government SpAd to have toiled in the Guido newsroom, his fears were clearly unfounded…

To keep up with all the latest SpAd hirings and firings check:

SpAd Update: Think Tank Rank

As Guido revealed on the SpAd List at the end of last week, think tank supremos Emma Barr and Rupert Reid have started working for Grant Shapps at Transport, moving from the Centre for Policy Studies and Policy Exchange respectively. Policy Exchange is now giving the TPA a real run for its money in Guido’s alumni chart…

Guido can also reveal that legal boffin Rajiv Shah has joined experienced SpAd Peter Cardwell in the MoJ too. Timothy era May veteran Chris Brannigan has joined the team in Number 10 too, and former Parliamentary assistant to Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, William Saunders has been promoted to become his Special Adviser.

UPDATE: Tees Valley Metro Mayor’s SpAd, Cameron Brown, has been hired as Jake Berry’s new advisor, and former Theresa May adviser Sara Rajeswaran has been hired by Theresa Villiers at DEFRA. Keep up with the continuously updated list here:

Email any additions to…

IEA Brexit Prizewinner Appointed Science and Universities SpAd

The SpAd List continues to be filled up with people with excellent free-market, free-thinking pedigrees. Iain Mansfield, a former FCO man in Manila, who won the IEA’s coveted Brexit Prize a whole half-decade ago in 2014 for his ‘Openness, not Isolation’ Brexit blueprint for an “open, prosperous and globally engaged UK that is eminently achievable” is joining Jo Johnson at BEIS to work on the science and universities brief. He’s since written a number of very sensible articles on ConHome

Sadly for the IEA it doesn’t technically bump them up in the SpAd think tank league table, with the TaxPayers’ Alliance still holding a commanding lead. However it’s yet another sign of the positive, outward-looking way the Government is approaching Brexit…

SpAd List Latest: Priti Goes Wild

The TaxPayers’ Alliance have stormed into an even more commanding lead in the SpAd Think Tank league table with the news that their former Research Director Alex Wild is joining the Home Office as Priti Patel’s spinner. You can almost hear the steam coming out of the ‘Who Funds You’ brigade’s ears from here…

Guido can bring you another round of updates as the SpAd List slowly gets filled in. Going to Alok Sharma at DFID are Will Holloway, formerly at BEIS with Greg Clark, and Natasha Adkins who moves from No 10. Geraint Evans is staying with Alun Cairns in the Welsh Office, while Elliot Roy is moving from the Scotland Office to No 10. Focus on the Union…

Sophia True formely of CCHQ and briefly SpAd to Mel Stride is going to work with Nicky Morgan at DCMS, while Tom Skinner is also moving from CCHQ to join Shelley Williams-Walker in the No 10 events team. Get in touch with any updates as they happen…

UPDATE: Guido hears of a few more moves (or lack of moves) – Jonathan Hellewell is staying in the faith and community outreach role in No 10, while Marcus Natale is joining the No 10 briefing team from CCHQ. Tim Pitt stays in the Treasury to help with transition, Jess Prestidge doesn’t have to move far from CCHQ to work with Tory Party Chairman James Cleverly. Former Brokenshire SpAd Peter Cardwell is moving to the MoJ with Robert Buckland. More updates as they happen…

Cummings Orders SpAds to Take Back Control of Whitehall

Contrary to speculation last night, the much anticipated early morning meeting with Dominic Cummings did not turn out to be a cull of Remainer SpAds. Instead SpAds were given their “marching orders” to go back to their Departments and knock them into shape for Brexit, and warned that Philip Hammond/Greg Clark-style anti-Brexit antics would not be tolerated. Taking back control of Whitehall…

SpAds have been instructed to interrogate their Departments’ levels of no-deal readiness and report any issues back to Downing Street sooner rather than later. Any notion that Downing Street isn’t taking no deal preparations 100% seriously is out the window now.

Meanwhile Remainers’ latest idea to try to stop No Deal is to attempt to force an election – which Boris can delay until November anyway – and then get Mark Sedwill to ask Boris nicely not to go through with No Deal. Cummings will be quaking in his boots…

Here’s the SpAd list as it stands:

Government of the Wonks: Think Tanks Take Over Government

Following last week’s dream Cabinet reshuffle, the good news for free marketeers and lovers of liberty has kept coming as new SpAd appointments have gradually trickled out. Free market think tanks are now very handsomely represented in Government. So far Guido has pinpointed the following former citizens of wonkland who are now helping to run the show:

  • Sophie Jarvis: Adam Smith Institute -> DIT
  • Danny Kruger: Centre for Policy Studies, Legatum Institute -> No 10
  • Nerissa Chesterfield: Institute of Economic Affairs -> DIT
  • Steph Lis: Institute of Economic Affairs -> DExEU
  • Katherine Howell: New Schools Network -> House of Lords
  • Henry Newman: Open Europe -> Cabinet Office
  • Munira Mirza: Policy Exchange -> No 10
  • Blair Gibbs: TaxPayers’ Alliance, Policy Exchange, VolteFace -> No 10
  • Sonia Khan: TaxPayers’ Alliance -> HMT
  • Robert Oxley: TaxPayers’ Alliance -> No 10
  • James Price: TaxPayers’ Alliance -> House of Lords
  • Alex Wild: TaxPayers’ Alliance -> Home Office
  • Chloe Westley: TaxPayers’ Alliance -> No 10
  • Eamonn Butler: Adam Smith Institute -> Freeports Advisory Panel
  • Tom Clougherty: ASI, Centre for Policy Studies -> Freeports Advisory Panel

(n.b. some of these are historic, many SpAds have done other things in between.)

As things stand it’s the Taxpayers’ Alliance at the head of the leaderboard with six* alumni now in government. The SpAd List is starting to take shape although there are many positions still to be filled. Get in touch with updates as they happen…

UPDATE: The TaxPayers’ Alliance moves from five to six as Alex Wild joins Priti Patel’s team.

Hammond’s Top SpAd Poppy Trowbridge Leaving Treasury

Philip Hammond’s top SpAd Poppy Trowbridge is set to return to the private sector later this Spring after almost three years in the Treasury. Poppy joined from Sky News although she is yet to reveal where she will be going after she leaves HMT. Her colleagues in the Treasury have known for a while that she intended to leave after the Spring Statement and Brexit Day, although the details of her departure are yet to be finalised amid the ongoing political drama. Given the looming Brexit delay it could be a while yet before she makes it out…

SpAd List: Bumper Edition

Guido brings you a bumper edition of the SpAd List to keep you up to date on the inner machinations of the Government machine. Deep breath…

Former Osborne adviser Baroness Eleanor Shawcross is Amber Rudd’s Chief of Staff at DWP – Jean-Andre Prager is now officially only at No 10 but still has a desk at DWP. Former CRD-er Declan Lyons is now at DEFRA with Gove. Claire Pearsall is SpAd to Immigration Minister Caroline Noakes. Guy Newey departed from BEIS last year to work in the energy sector.

Elliot Roy has replaced Jenny Donelan at Scotland, while former Hague adviser Anthony Mangnall has replaced Sophie Traherne at Wales. Busy Chief Whip Julian Smith is also advised by CSJ alumna Claire Coutinho, Lilah Howson-Smith and Ross Reid, who is shared with Number 10. And finally, Gaj Wallooppillai has replaced Amy Fisher as Head of Outreach at CCHQ.

Let Guido know any further updates

SpAd Moves: Amy Fisher Quits CCHQ

Amy Fisher is leaving CCHQ, where she is director of external affairs, outreach and special projects. Amy was most recently SpAd to Amber Rudd at the Home Office and before that ran the Tory press office. She’s off to spin for lobbyists MHP Public Affairs…

Let Guido know any updates

[…] Read the rest


SpAd Moves: Downing Street Departures

Following the news that May’s close adviser Alex Dawson is leaving No 10 for Peter Mandelson’s Global Counsel outfit, Guido can reveal another move with Kenny Ferguson also leaving Downing Street to become Special Adviser to Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay alongside Steph Lis.[…] Read the rest


Holden’s Return Ticket to Transport

Ric Holden has made his way back into government after being cleared of some unpleasant false allegations. After a little delay to clear vetting his Special Adviser’s return ticket takes him to the Department of Transport where he replaces Emma Boon who scooted off to a transport start-up.[…] Read the rest


SpAd Moves: Lords Leadership Overhaul

The TPA’s popular Campaign Manager James Price is moving to become Special Adviser to Baroness Evans, the Leader of the House of Lords. Price is well known in think tank circles and a stalwart social fixture in Westminster. Smart hire…

Price joins former public affairs executive Tom Kennedy, who joined Baroness Evans’ office at the end of last month.[…] Read the rest


Boon Scooting Off

Emma Boon, who has been SpAd-ing for Chris Grayling, is leaving the Department of Transport to go work for the electric scooter company Bird (fastest ever startup to become a ‘unicorn with a $2 billion valuation’ apparently). After over 3 years as a SpAd, the veteran of DEFRA and former campaign director for the Taxpayers’ Alliance is scooting off to Amsterdam.[…] Read the rest


SpAd Moves: Hancock Gets Fighting Fit Team

New Health Secretary Matt Hancock is beefing up his SpAd team – experienced SpAd Lottie Dominiczak is off to the private sector, with two new hires coming in to partner renowned chess hustler and late-night Tory Conference musical entertainer extraordinaire Jamie Njoku-Goodwin.[…] Read the rest


Hammond Hires Taxpayers’ Alliance Alumna Sonia Khan

Guido can reveal that Chancellor Philip Hammond has hired Sonia Khan to join his team as a media SpAd working alongside Poppy Trowbridge. Hammond’s other media SpAd Giles Winn will be moving into a broader SpAd role. Khan has held a number of press roles around Whitehall, most recently press secretary to Liam Fox in the Department for International Trade.[…] Read the rest


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