Duncan rewarded with major Tory media role.

Opposition leader William Hague has given his leadership campaign manager, Alan Duncan MP, the chief communications role within the Conservative Party.

Opposition leader William Hague has given his leadership campaign

manager, Alan Duncan MP, the chief communications role within the

Conservative Party.



Duncan has been charged with the relaunch of the beleaguered party to

the media. He will attempt to help Hague’s efforts to present the Tories

as a united force following the splits over Europe.



Hague appointed Duncan as Parliamentary Political Secretary on Monday 23

June and on Tuesday he was made vice chairman of the party responsible

for communications. He will liaise with the media and ensure that policy

announcements are co-ordinated.



Duncan will act as a bridge between the Leader of the Opposition’s

office and Conservative Party chairman Lord Parkinson.



The position, the first of its kind within the Tory Party, is thought to

be similar to the one created within the Labour party by Peter Mandelson

during the last Parliament. Hague promised during the leadership

campaign to learn from Labour’s superior communication activities.



Duncan’s predecessor as vice-president for communications was Charles

Hendry. Francis Halewood, appointed on a three-month contract as

director of communications for the Party in May, remains in the post. He

heads the press team at Tory Central Office.



Duncan set up the Tories’ rapid rebuttal unit earlier this year. He also

managed the Party’s campaign during the Tamworth by-election in April

1996.



But unlike his opposite numbers at Labour, Duncan has not worked within

the media. Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s chief press secretary, wrote

for the Mirror and Today while Peter Mandelson was a researcher and

producer at LWT.



Duncan lent his Westminster home to John Major to use as his

headquarters during the 1990 leadership campaign. The house was used

more recently as Hague’s base during the leadership contest.



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