Brown gets his speechwriter at last

Gordon Brown has hired a new speech writer - as he puts the final touches to his crucial Labour conference speech.

Brown: hires new speechwriter
Brown: hires new speechwriter

Civil servant Tim Kiddell is said to have taken the role which became vacant when Brown's chief speechwriter Beth Russell quit back in June.

Prior to joining the Number Ten, Kiddell led the cross-government delivery unit for the Health Work and Wellbeing Strategy, supporting Dame Carol Black's review of the health of Britain's workforce.

The speech writer post has proved hard to fill. As revealed in PRWeek, Russell's departure prompted Number Ten permanent secretary Jeremy Heywood to trawl government departments to find a replacement.

Heywood sent a letter to all permanent secretaries asking them to put forward suitable candidates.

In the letter, dated 17 June, Heywood described the job as ‘a high profile and demanding post involving daily contact with the Prime Minister'.

The letter went on: ‘I would be grateful if you could each put forward the names of one or two individuals who would particularly excel in this role.'

PRWeek previously revealed that Downing Street had approached a trio of Blairite speechwriters amid concern that Brown's big speeches were failing to resonate with the public and told how Brown has increasingly been relying on his close friend Colin Currie - a doctor by trade - to draft his speeches.

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