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

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. Ferguson had been Downing Street’s Chief Press Officer for Brexit and the Economy since October 2017 and was previously at the Treasury and DfID. Congratulations…

Guido can also confirm Amber Rudd’s lineup at DWP. Rudd has kept on Esther McVey’s SpAds Alex Hitchcock and Jean-Andre Prager, who continues to work between DWP and No 10, alongside Jason Stein who joined from the Treasury in December. Get in touch with any further updates…

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. The transport gig is one of the toughest in government so he’ll have his work cut out.

Interesting little factoid. Grayling is the only Leaver to serve continuously in the Cabinet since Cameron’s day. Patel, Whittingdale, Villiers, IDS are gone. Fox and Gove went and returned. Grayling is the only Leaver to have come through it all…

Guido can also bring you a couple of other updates – Jason Stein has moved from the Treasury press office where he was Liz Truss’s Press Secretary to become Amber Rudd’s SpAd at DWP, while former Dom Raab SpAd Steph Lis has remained at DExEU under new Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay. Get in touch with any further updates…

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. He previously worked as a Parliamentary staffer for Jesse Norman. Thomas Pretty has left in order to become a SpAd down under to Australia’s new Education Minister, Dan Tehan. Congratulations…

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. Her husband moved there in April for work so she’s been racking up the air miles. Spirited, last time Emma featured on here she rang up to complain that it wasn’t taggedTotty Watch“.

Guido also brings you a few updates of some other SpAd moves that we missed at the time. Sophie Dean is Esther McVey’s media SpAd, while Philip Hammond also has Steffan Ball and Tim Pitt working for him – Pitt was previously shared between Hammond and Liz Truss. Charlie Ogilvie, a man with a reputation for inter-departmental debriefing, is working for Claire Perry. Get in touch with any updates…

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. Richard Sloggett is joining from Hanover Communications as Hancock’s policy SpAd – Sloggett has worked on health issues for years and knows the health world inside out.

Allan Nixon is joining from Hancock’s parliamentary office and will lead on parliamentary liaison. Also joining Team Hancock on the civil service side is former Evening Standard hack Rashid Razaq who will be Hancock’s speechwriter after being poached from DfID. Hancock getting his team leadership fighting-fit…

Outside the Department of Health, former Gove SpAd Beth Armstrong is making a return to Government, joining Nick De Bois and Steph Lis at DExEU. They will have their hands full over the next few weeks…

Get in touch with any updates…

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. She is also an alumna of the Taxpayers’ Alliance. At least there is now one tax cutter in the Chancellor’s office…

Incoming DCMS SpAds from Industry

Politico are reporting that EE’s ‘Westminster link man’ Alexander Jackman and Finsbury PR’s (and formerly England Rugby’s) Lucy Noakes have joined DCMS as SpAds for Secretary of State Jeremy Wright. Their first task will be to raise his profile…

May Told Brexiters Needed in No.10 Europe Unit

Tory MPs want Theresa May to add Brexit-supporting trade experts to her Number 10 team after concerns were raised that the current crop of policy aides are out of their depth and not signed up to the PM’s plan for leaving the customs union. The revelation that May’s senior aides “will not be crying into our beer” should the UK be forced to remain in a customs union has enraged Brexiters. As Guido reported yesterday, knives are out for the Number 10 Europe Unit, Denzil Davidson and Ed de Minckwitz, who are accused of attempting to “roll the pitch” ahead of caving on the customs union.

Davidson helped negotiate David Cameron’s failed pre-referendum deal with the EU, which hardly inspires confidence. There is consternation that de Minckwitz, who was one of Stronger In’s top advisers during the referendum and played the role of Boris in BSE’s debate prep, inexplicably holds the trade brief. When you add the Remainer-filled Europe Unit to May’s Remainer chief of staff Gavin Barwell – who blames Brexit for him losing his seat – and her Remainer chief EU adviser Olly Robbins – who came up with the disastrous ‘customs partnership’ fudge – it is clear that none of the PM’s top Brexit aides are true believers.

Some Leavers are lobbying for the role of DIT’s Crawford Falconer, someone who actually has trade expertise, to be beefed up. Others want Number 10 to listen more to the likes of the IEA’s Shanker Singham and the group Economists For Free Trade. There have been serious concerns for a while now that the calibre of May’s Brexit advisers is so low that “Heywood and Robbins run rings around them”. One of the key problems with Number 10’s approach to Brexit is that none of her Brexit aides believe in the cause. Pro-Brexit advisers, Nick Timothy even, would never have allowed their position on the customs union to become so vague. As Theresa May herself said, “You can only deliver Brexit if you believe in Brexit…”

Women and Equalities Chair Slams No.10 Gender Gap

Following Guido’s story that 85% of Number 10 SpAds are men – with just 6 female advisers working in Downing Street – Women and Equalities select committee chair Maria Miller tells the FT’s Laura Hughes:

“We need to make sure that there are strong women’s voices around the policy making table. Current situation is simply not good enough.”

There are 10 advisers in the Downing Street policy unit: James Marshall, Douglas McNeill, Giles Wilkes, James Kent, Nero Ughwujobo, Toby Lloyd, John Randall, Mike Crowhurst, Mat Ilic and Jean-Andre Prager. All blokes…

UPDATE:

Boys Jobs: 85% of Downing Street SpAds Are Men

Guido can reveal the latest updated version of our ever popular SpAd List. Our analysis of the data reveals there is an incredible gender gap in Number 10. Of the 39 Downing Street SpAds a mere 6 are women, a meagre 15%. This is a significantly worse figure than across the rest of government. Being a Downing Street SpAd is it seems 85% a boy’s job…

Overall Guido counts 95 SpAds, 23 of which are women, that’s 24%, better than in Number 10 though not that impressive. Back in October Theresa May announced a “new drive” on gender equality in the workplace, “calling on companies to take steps to improve workplace equality”. There are more Johns and James’ working in Number 10 than there are women…

Last Day For May’s Head of Broadcast

Guido can reveal Theresa May’s head of broadcast Tom Swarbrick is leaving Number 10. Former LBC man Swarbrick, who was one of the brightest up-and-coming journalists around before he moved over to the dark side, has been with May for the long haul since summer 2016. The move has been in the works for a while and today is his last day – no pressure making sure the PM’s Brexit speech lands well. Good luck…

New SpAd List: Cameron Era Advisers Return

The return of veteran Cameron era aides is a definite theme as Guido brings you the latest SpAd List. Guido can reveal Zoe Thorogood is Brandon Lewis’ new chief of staff at CCHQ (she is joined by Anita Boateng, who will split her time with David Lidington in the Cabinet Office). Zoe was Eric Pickles’ SpAd back in the day at DCLG, she is popular, a grown up and will be a useful hire for the Tories. Guido understands Meg Powell-Chandler, who worked for Dave for two years in Number 10, is returning to government as Damian Hinds’ SpAd. We can also reveal Sajid Javid has hired Samuel Coates (the comms/strategy one not the Times one) – he’s a former speechwriter to Cameron, adviser to the Canadian government and Brexiter. Lottie Dominiczak (née Dexter) will once again be SpAd to Matt Hancock, having had the same job in the DC years. She is joined at DCMS by ex-CCHQ spinner and chess obsessive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin. Gavin Williamson has hired Rob Golledge, previously a journalist at his local paper the Express & Star, as his media SpAd.

There are a few blank spaces left to fill – get in touch if you have the names…

Tricky Start in Brussels

The Prime Minister’s aide Richard “Tricky” Jackson encounters the Brussels security team. Good to see Number 10 is taking no nonsense from the Eurocrats…

H/T John Stevens

Welsh Government SpAd Under Pressure this Morning

The family of Carl Sargeant – who is understood to have killed himself after being accused of sexual misconduct – say advisers to the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones may have manipulated evidence against him. They also failed to detail the charges against Sargaent despite pleas from his solicitors, meaning he had no opportunity to defend himself against unknown allegations. Pictured above are the SpAds out in Cardiff on Friday night celebrating after the sacking of Carl Sargeant from the Welsh government earlier that day.

On the left in the photo above is the First Minister’s senior SpAd Matt Greenough, who is under fire over his handling of the complaint. Greenough is said to be the one who spoke to the complainants before the issue was referred for an internal party investigation. First Minister Carwyn Jones is under serious pressure this morning, Greenough could be sacrificed…

Ruth Porter to London Stock Exchange

Guido hears Ruth Porter is moving to the private sector to head up UK government relations for the London Stock Exchange. Porter was most recently Liz Truss’ special adviser before heading off on maternity leave. She was a leading light in SW1 wonk world at the IEA and Policy Exchange before moving into government, where she held three SpAd positions in Coalition and post-2015. Congratulations… MoG?

Boris Hires Number 10’s Lee Cain

Guido understands Boris has hired Number 10 spinner Lee Cain as his new media SpAd. Cain is a former Fleet Street journalist so he gets news, he’s popular with the Lobby, is a big Brexiter and knows BoJo from his days running the broadcast operation at Vote Leave. Also a move which shows the relationship between Number 10 and the Boris camp is perhaps better than some have suggested. Good hire for Boris and good to see another big job for a Leaver…

SpAd Movements: New No.10 and DCMS Hires

A few changes to our SpAd List this morning – Guido hears Karen Bradley’s adviser Aidan Corley has been promoted to Number 10. The Culture Secretary has brought in two new SpAds to fill her team: former IDS aide and Coadec chief Romilly Dennys and the Mail on Sunday’s ‘Girl About Town’ diarist Charlotte Griffiths.[…] Read the rest

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