PRWeek can reveal that George Eustice is joining Tim Allan’s agency Portland PR as an associate director.
He makes the move next week after five years working for the Conservative Party, including a stint as head of press for the party and a lengthy spell as Cameron’s press secretary.
The appointment is a coup for Allan, who set up public affairs specialist Portland in 2001, having previously been deputy director of communications at Downing Street.
With the Conservatives edging ever closer to power, public affairs agencies are keen to boost their Tory credentials, but most have so far failed to attract any Conservative advisers with direct links to Cameron’s inner circle.
Eustice confirmed he was joining Portland. In a statement, he said: ‘I have always admired the way the agency brings together talented people from across the political spectrum.’
Before Cameron’s election as Tory leader, Eustice served as deputy press secretary to former leader Michael Howard and as head of press for the party in the 2005 general election. He then managed media relations for Cameron’s successful party leadership campaign in 2005.
From June 2005 to November 2007 Eustice was press secretary to Cameron, based in the leader’s private office in the Norman Shaw building. Following the appointment of Andy Coulson as Tory communications director in 2007, Eustice went on to become head of external relations for the Conservative Party.
His decision to join Portland follows his selection as Conservative candidate for the three-way marginal seat of Camborne and Redruth in Cornwall.
Tory PR movers
December 2007 Hill & Knowlton poached Tory deputy campaigns director Oliver Dowden, but in late 2008 Dowden returned to Conservative Central Office
September 2007 Quiller Consultants signed up Tory campaigns director George Bridges
March 2007 Bell Pottinger Public Affairs welcomed Jonathan Caine, former assistant director of the Conservative Research Department