Theresa May's press secretary departs days after comms chief resigns

Another press aide to Theresa May has departed in the wake of her decision to call a snap general election - and her party's appointment of Lynton Crosby to run its campaign.

Lizzie Loudon today left her role as Downing Street press secretary, a political appointment, a spokesman for May said.

She had joined May's team when she entered Downing Street in July, having previously worked for Brexit group Vote Leave, and before that as a spad for Iain Duncan Smith.

The departure of Loudon follows the news that May's director of comms Katie Perrior would leave her role shortly. Perrior, who has now left Downing Street, made her intentions known on Tuesday just hours after May announced her intention to ask parliament to give the green light to a general election.

May's spokesman said: "We thank Lizzie for her dedication and hard work. She will be missed by her colleagues who want to wish her every success in the future."

Motives for moving on

A source told PRWeek that Loudon had not wanted to commit to another term in office, and so was always likely to leave ahead of a general election, whenever it was held.

This was a similar position to Perrior - her former business partner told PRWeek on Tuesday that Perrior had "always maintained she wouldn't continue in the job post a general election".

The departure of the pair has also been linked to the appointment of Sir Lynton Crosby and his agency CrosbyTextor to run the Conservative party's election campaign. Crosby's prefence for disciplined, centrally run messages was seen as likely to negate the role of traditional PR operators.

On Wednesday, a former PR aide to Boris Johnson suggested that Crosby might have more influence on party policy than in previous elections.

Perrior's salary was £125,000 and Loudon's £85,000, government data shows. 

In a separate move, Loudon's former Vote Leave colleague Robert Oxley, who joined the Department for International Development after the referendum, has reportedly become the Conservatives' head of news for the election campaign.

PRWeek has approached the party for comment, after the department said it could not comment.

UPDATE: Oxley confirmed his appointment shortly after this story was published

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