Labour cranks up election media machine

The Labour Party is beefing up its press operation ahead of the next general election, widely tipped to happen next spring.

The Labour Party is beefing up its press operation ahead of the

next general election, widely tipped to happen next spring.



The party is on the verge of hiring broadcasting officer Steve Bates as

chief press officer, the post left vacant since the departure last

summer by Adrian McMenamin. Bates reports to Phil Murphy, the party’s

assistant general secretary in charge of communications.



Millbank, the headquarters from where the 1997 election campaign was

run, is also recruiting eight trainee press officers to work across the

country on the next campaign. A spokesman said they were hiring now so

staff could be ’bedded in for when it’s busy’.



Murphy, who assumed his post last year, reports to general secretary

Margaret McDonagh, and already has a structure of 10 regional and six

London-based press officers.



Priti Patel, the former deputy head of media and press secretary to

opposition leader William Hague joins Shandwick Public Affairs this week

as a senior consulant.



The Tories are not looking to recruit a succesor, having taken on seven

new media staff at the party’s central office last summer. This process

saw the creation of a ’war room,’ under head of media Amanda Platell, in

which each subject-based press officer also acts as a spokesman for the

relevant opposition figure.



David Walter, communications director for the Liberal Democrats, is

seeking to appoint two press officers to augment his already six-strong

team.



Leader, p10.



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