MHP managing director Gurling takes leave to run Lib Dem election campaign

James Gurling, an MD in the London office of MHP, has taken leave from the agency to chair the Liberal Democrats' General Election campaign.

Gurling has taken leave from MHP to chair the Lib Dems' General Election campaign
Gurling has taken leave from MHP to chair the Lib Dems' General Election campaign

Gurling, who was awarded an OBE for political service in 2015, first worked in the party as a press aide to then leader Paddy Ashdown in the 1997 election.

He has also been a councillor, served on the party's federal executive committee, chairs its campaigns and communications committee, and worked with former leader Charles Kennedy. He was also the brother-in-law of Kennedy, who died in 2015.

Gurling has been at MHP since March 2014, having previously worked at Hanover, and before this held an in-house role at mobile network Three.

He will return to the agency after the election, an MHP spokesman said.

Gurling told PRWeek: "Anyone who has been involved in political campaigning and communication for as long as I have gets bitten by the election bug. So its really great to have the chance to chair such a great campaign team".

MHP also has another high-profile Lib Dem figure in its ranks - since early 2016, former energy secretary Ed Davey has been a senior adviser to the firm. Davey is not currently undertaking any work for MHP as he is campaigning to win back the Kingston & Surbiton parliamentary seat he lost in 2015.

Gurling returned to the MHP office on Friday for the first of a series of events branded the 'Floating Voter'. The agency set up a temporary pub and held a pub quiz and panel discussion, with Gurling joined by Twitter UK head of policy Nick Pickles, Sun journalist Lynn Davidson, and Ian Kirby, another MD at MHP, as host.

Read next: 'The real campaign is being fought on social media' - General Election panel, week four

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