Tories finally draw up shortlist to replace Amanda Platell

LONDON - The Conservative Party is driving ahead with its plans to fill its vacant communications director post as it faces one of the biggest PR challenges in its history.

Sources close to the recruitment process say Tory bosses have drawn up a shortlist of candidates for the top PR role, with Kevin Bell, managing director of Fleishman-Hillard-owned agency GPC, understood to be among those being considered.

Speculation suggests that the party is keen to bring recruitment to a close and one source said the Tories were down "to the last few" preferred candidates.

It is understood the Tories are looking for a PR chief with a strong commercial background, possibly with marketing experience.

Bell is known to already provide ad hoc communications advice to the party and is a close ally of a number of leading Conservatives, including former chairman David Davis and MP Michael Portillo, both of whom stood unsuccessfully in last year's leadership race.

Bell declined to comment on the Tory role, except to say: "I'm very happy where I currently am."

While Bell is understood to be a frontrunner for the job, friends close to the GPC chief claim he is not interested in taking the role, left vacant following the departure of former communications director Amanda Platell over a year ago.

The Tories are currently facing one of their worst ever communications crises, heightened by Iain Duncan Smith's recent "unite or die" speech, which fuelled press speculation over dissent within the party.

And last weekend an ICM/Sunday Telegraph poll revealed that just 25% of all voters believe he is doing an effective job.

It has also been widely speculated that some of the party's image problems stem from the delay in appointing a communications chief.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in