The beleaguered Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
is set to appoint Lucian Hudson as its director of communications.
An early priority will be to restore public confidence in the recently
created department, which has been criticised following revelations last
week of a mix-up in BSE testing.
Scientists carrying out the tests in sheep may have been analysing cows
by mistake, it was revealed.
Former BBC journalist Hudson, who has been acting comms director since 8
October, will first have to rein in Secretary of State Margaret Beckett,
who has already ignored his press office's advice with disastrous
A press release detailing the BSE blunder was rushed out late last
Wednesday on her orders despite the press office wanting to arrange a
full and detailed press briefing the next morning.
This missed many news deadlines and brought accusations from
Conservative rural affairs spokesman Peter Ainsworth that 'burying'
tactics were being used.
Hudson was brought in as deputy comms director in June to assist in the
handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis. He takes over from Robert Lowson,
a career civil servant, who has returned to a policy role.
Hudson joined the civil service in October last year when he became the
Government's first director of e-comms, based in the Cabinet Office.
He also has 17 years journalism experience, mostly at the BBC.