Lib Dems hire former journalist to lead on strategy and messaging

The Liberal Democrats have appointed former journalist and media comms chief Mimi Turner as the party’s director of strategy.

Mimi Turner has been tasked with developing an election-winning strategy for the Lib Dems
Mimi Turner has been tasked with developing an election-winning strategy for the Lib Dems

Turner, whose career encompasses PR, brand and comms roles, is now director of strategy, messaging and research for the Lib Dems.

Hopes and concerns

According to the party, Turner’s role will be to develop a clear strategy for winning future elections and to help it “speak to people’s hopes and concerns” by developing research and insights.

Her main responsibilities include making sure the party’s brand and tone of voice is relevant to the public, and developing an internal and external comms strategy encompassing the media and digital marketing.

She joins from her eponymous marketing and brand strategy consultancy, Mimi Turner Associates.

Mike Dixon, chief executive of the Liberal Democrats, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Mimi to the team. She’s focused, strategic and has a stellar track record of listening to people and speaking to their concerns with emotion and empathy. This is another sign that our party is changing.”

Career path

Turner began her career as a science journalist for The Sunday Times, specialising as a medical and engineering writer, before moving to the Financial Times Group, where she covered technology and the media.

She spent more than 10 years as European television editor for the Hollywood Reporter, before moving out of journalism to become director of comms and public affairs for Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell, then-owner of the Express Newspapers and Channel 5.

Senior marketing roles followed, for The Health Lottery and LADbible, before Turner moved to Vice Media as senior vice-president of strategy in the UK.

She has also worked in consultancy roles for Wireless Group, part of News UK, and in 2018 she was a special advisor to the Cairncross Review on the future of high quality journalism.

She is a founder member of Media For All, a media and advertising industry group which seeks to broaden access to BAME and other under-represented groups.

Commenting on her new role, Turner said: “I am grateful and delighted to be joining the Liberal Democrats. I believe that a strong Liberal Democrat voice protects the British public from the divisions and extremes in British politics. This is more important in 2020 than it has ever been.”

The party faces an uphill struggle to achieve cut-through with the public. Opinion surveys show public support for the Lib Dems languishing at about seven per cent this month, down from nearly 12 per cent at the general election in December.

Sir Ed Davey MP and Mark Pack are currently acting co-leaders of the party, after former leader Jo Swinson lost her seat in the December general election. The election of the party's next leader is due to take place in August, with two candidates standing: Davey and Layla Moran MP.

The party suspended its head of media, Rosy Cobb, during the election campaign over allegations that she deliberately faked an email to a journalist.

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