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