LONDON: Helen Bower has become the fourth person to serve as deputy spokesman to the prime minister in a year as Scot Marchbank moves to a temporary job as head of national security communications.
The latest switch, which took effect last week, was made to provide maternity cover for head of national security comms Emily Hands for a year. Bower will cover Hands' Afghanistan and NATO summit responsibilities.
Marchbank is retaining his role as head of news for Prime Minister David Cameron's office while Bower is keeping her position as his principal foreign affairs and defense press adviser.
The deputy spokesman conducts one of the nine weekly lobby briefings, with the prime minister's spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, doing eight.
Bower is the fourth person to occupy the role since the start of 2013, when Vickie Sheriff landed the job of director of comms at the Department for Transport. Sheriff was replaced on a temporary basis by Christian Cubitt in March, before Marchbank was handed the position permanently in August on loan from head of news at the Ministry of Justice.
The prime minister's spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, said that “these changes will ensure that we can successfully manage [Hands'] wide-ranging portfolio over the busy and important months ahead.”
“[Marchbank] has a strong background in security matters and [Bower's] expanded role will make full use of her extensive knowledge of foreign affairs and experience working with the Westminster Lobby on foreign and defense matters,” Gray added.
Bower secured the job of chief press officer for foreign affairs and defense in May 2011, moving from head of the press office at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's UK representation to the European Union, based in Brussels.
This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.