Exclusive: Downing Street comms chief ‘applied for top Leave and Remain jobs’

Lee Cain, Downing Street director of communications to Boris Johnson, applied for the roles of head of broadcast for both the ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ EU referendum campaigns, a former colleague of his has claimed.

Lee Cain applied for top 'Leave' and 'Remain' roles, a former colleague of his has claimed (Pic credit: Paul Grover/Shutterstock)
Lee Cain applied for top 'Leave' and 'Remain' roles, a former colleague of his has claimed (Pic credit: Paul Grover/Shutterstock)

The former colleague, who worked with Cain when he was a journalist, told PRWeek: “He told me: ‘I just want to get into politics. I’ve applied for two jobs and I’ve got one of them. I’ve applied for head of broadcast for ‘Remain’ and head of broadcast for ‘Leave’. If this ever comes out I’ll be in a lot of trouble.’ At that point he had no experience or understanding of politics.”

The Prime Minister is understood to have filled the ranks of comms and special adviser roles inside Downing Street with people involved with the ‘Leave’ side of the referendum since taking office last summer.

Cain began his career as a reporter on a local newspaper and later worked as a shift reporter on tabloids including The Sun and The Mirror.

He also worked for ITV's This Morning, and in PR for the law firm Slater and Gordon.

But Cain came to greater prominence in early 2016 when he took on the critical job of head of broadcast for the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign, a role he held until the referendum result in June.

Following the victory of the ‘Leave’ campaign, Cain became a special adviser at Defra and later to Johnson during his time as Foreign Secretary.

Cain continued to rise, becoming director of comms to the ‘Back Boris’ campaign to get Johnson elected as the leader of the Conservative Party.

When Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019, Cain was appointed Downing Street director of communications.

Downing Street had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

PRWeek’s full profile on Cain will be published next week.

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