News of both appointments broke yesterday on the web. Portland partner and former Sun political editor George Pascoe-Watson used his Twitter feed to reveal Baldwin’s appointment, while the blogger Guido Fawkes was first with the news of Roberts’ appointment. The Labour Party has refused to comment on the reports.
Baldwin is a former political correspondent of The Times, who served as the paper's Washington correspondent for four years before returning to London as chief reporter last year. He is known to be a friend of Alastair Campbell but is expected to play a more strategic behind-the-scenes role in Labour’s comms operation than Campbell did - paralleling the hands-off approach of Downing Street comms director Andy Coulson.
Roberts meanwhile is tipped to handle the Labour leader’s day-to-day relations with the media.
The two appointments will increase the media experience of the Labour leader’s close team, after months in which he has failed to make an overwhelming public impression.
They come almost two months after PRWeek revealed that the Labour Party’s two top media operators, Roger Baker and Tom Price, were both preparing to quit the press office.