Tony Blair's political director Matthew Doyle resigns to pursue other interests

Tony Blair's political director and close aide has resigned, PRWeek can reveal.

Tony Blair: losing aide Matthew Doyle
Tony Blair: losing aide Matthew Doyle

Matthew Doyle, who was Blair’s deputy director of comms at No 10, handed in his notice last week to pursue other opportunities. Blair's spokesman Ciaran Ward will continue to be in charge of day-to-day media operations.

Doyle started working with Blair in 2005 when he was appointed as his special comms adviser at Number 10. He was previously press aide to the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Blunkett, and before that he worked at the Labour Party as head of press and broadcasting for the 2005 general election.

Doyle said: ‘Working with Tony Blair both in and out of government has been a fantastic experience and a real honour. After more than a decade with one of the world's leading political figures, 2012 is the right time to move on.’

The resignation will come as a blow to Blair after working with Doyle while prime minister and in the creation of ‘Blair Inc’, the term used by the media to label Blair’s various businesses.

Financial experts have speculated that the 'Blair Inc' portfolio of companies and properties could be worth in the region of £30 to £40m – enough to put the former prime minister’s name on Britain’s rich list.

Blair's business activities have come under fire from sections of the UK media. The Telegraph on 14 January detailed the operations of the Office of Tony Blair calling it a ‘multi-million pound industry with tentacles that reach across the globe’. The report stated that Blair made 61 trips abroad totalling almost 224,000 miles in just 12 months and that he spends as little as two months a year in the UK.

Blair has also been accused of trying to keep a deal with South Korean oil firm UI Energy Corporation secret for almost two years. Reports have suggested that the majority of Blair's income comes from Tony Blair Associates, the consultancy that provides guidance for foreign governments including Kuwait.

Doyle is working out his notice period at the Office of Tony Blair, the headquarters of Blair's businesses in London’s Grosvenor Square. It is thought he does not have a job to go to.

Several former Downing Street aides make up the 100 headcount at the offices.

Former Downing Street head of government relations Ruth Turner runs the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, while Kate Gross, a former private secretary to Blair at No 10, is the chief executive of his charity, the Africa Governance Initiative.

Strategic director Catherine Rimmer used to work at the research unit at Downing Street, and Jeanette Pickard, who was manager of Blair’s constituency office in Sedgefield, is now chief executive of the Tony Blair Sports Foundation.

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