Agencies swoop to sign up senior Conservative aides

A trio of senior Conservative Party operatives have signed up with PR agencies, while others prepare to take jobs in Downing Street and government departments..

New posts: Clarence Mitchell and George Bridges
New posts: Clarence Mitchell and George Bridges

PRWeek can reveal that Lewis PR has hired Clarence Mitchell to be director of media strategy and public affairs. Mitchell, best known for providing PR support to the family of Madeleine McCann, was employed to run the Conservative Party's media monitoring unit during the general election.

Huntsworth-owned lobbying firm Quiller has also persuaded heavy-hitting Tory strategist George Bridges to return to the fold - six months after Bridges quit to help George Osborne run the party's general election campaign.

Another Tory to move into the agency world this week is Graham Hook, assistant director in the Conservative Party's research department, who also managed David Cameron's 'briefing team'. Hook becomes senior consultant at lobbying firm Politics International.

Headhunters expect more Tories to make the move into PR and lobbying in the next few weeks, as the set-up at Downing Street and in government departments becomes clearer. Among those set to take key roles in Downing Street are Tory comms director Andy Coulson, strategy director Steve Hilton, head of policy James O'Shaughnessy and chief of staff Ed Llewellyn.

It is also understood Tory press officers Caroline Preston and Alan Sendorek have been offered jobs in the Downing Street press office, but it is not known whether they have accepted. One Tory insider said that a number of aides had discussed setting up their own agency and were still considering the venture as PRWeek went to press. Other Tory staffers will become special advisers in government departments.

 

TORY LEAVERS

Clarence Mitchell - Ex-BBC journalist rose to fame handling media for the McCann family. Left Freuds in March 2010 to run Tories' media monitoring unit

George Bridges - Ex-Tory campaigns director quit for lobbying firm Quiller in 2007. Lured back late last year to help run election campaign

Graham Hook - Became assistant director in Tory research department in 2009.

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