Kennedy starts hunt for press secretary

Charles Kennedy is seeking his first press secretary, weeks after having secured the Liberal Democrat party leadership with a relatively slim majority.

Charles Kennedy is seeking his first press secretary, weeks after

having secured the Liberal Democrat party leadership with a relatively

slim majority.



Since his election last August, Kennedy’s media relations have been

handled by Paddy Ashdown’s outgoing press secretary, Miranda Green.



Green, a former business journalist, leaves the post this week after two

years, having seen Kennedy through his first party conference season as

leader. She is now considering her career options.



Kennedy and his inner circle - several of whom work in communications -

are now interviewing for the new press secretary, who they hope will be

in place within a few weeks.



The post is responsible for raising Kennedy’s profile in the media. GPC

senior consultant James Gurling, who advised Kennedy on his media

relations during the leadership campaign, and Liberal Democrat

communications head David Walter have ruled themselves out for the

job.



But party chief press and broadcasting officer Jeremy Browne is believed

to be in the frame, as well as several potential candidates from the

broadcast media. A spokesman for Kennedy’s office said: ’The party

conference and the reshuffle got in the way of focusing our energy on

the press secretary, but now we are turning our attention to that.’



Green said: ’Charles Kennedy needs someone of his own. You become a

mouthpiece for the person you work for. This is a 24-hour-a-day

role.’



Meanwhile, the Scottish Liberal Democrat party has appointed Gerald

Vernon-Jackson as its first media head. He joins later this month from

his post as head of office for Newbury MP and Lib Dem leadership

candidate David Rendel. Vernon-Jackson will report to the Scottish

party’s communications head, who is to be appointed in the next three

weeks (PR Week, 9 July).



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