Prime Minister appoints new official spokesperson

Max Blain has been appointed as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson, PRWeek can reveal.

Boris Johnson has appointed a new official spokesperson, following James Slack's move into another Downing Street role (pic credit: Getty)
Boris Johnson has appointed a new official spokesperson, following James Slack's move into another Downing Street role (pic credit: Getty)

Max Blain joins the Prime Minister from the Department of Health and Social Care, where he had been the department’s acting head of news.

He takes up the job in April.

Senior Government sources confirmed to PRWeek this morning that Blain had been appointed to the role.

He will take over the job of speaking to Lobby correspondents each morning to deliver statements on the day’s news on behalf of the Prime Minister. The post-holder is a civil servant rather than a special adviser.

Blain's role as official spokesperson differs from that of Allegra Stratton, who was appointed as Downing Street press secretary in October, to lead the government's televised press briefings. 

Stratton role is political, which means she is free to answer questions on the policies of opposition parties in addition to presenting the Government’s position, while Blain is a civil servant and bound by its codes on impartiality.

The job has remained vacant for several months since James Slack, who held the role for nearly three years from 2017, became Downing Street’s director of comms in November.

Previous holders of the post of Prime Minister's official spokesperson include Helen Bower, now directoir of comms at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Alastair Campbell in the early years of the Tony Blair government.

Before Blain was at DHSC, he had a three-year stint in Downing Street under former Prime Minister Theresa May.

During that time was Downing Street’s chief press officer and later became May’s deputy official spokesperson.

While working for May, Blain was quoted responding to a row with Donald Trump when the former US President described the new US embassy location in Vauxhall as an “off location”.

Blain told journalists that Vauxhall was a vibrant part of London which was “home to many businesses” and not an “off location”.

In his new role, Blain will brief the Lobby about the key issues such as Johnson’s handling of the pandemic and the vaccine rollout, as well as Brexit.

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

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