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