Labour Party appoints interim comms chief following Nunn’s resignation

Stephanie Driver will become interim director of communications for the Labour Party after Ben Nunn announced his departure last week, PRWeek understands.

Sir Keir Starnmer has appointed an interim director of comms following the departure of Ben Nunn (pic credit: Getty)
Sir Keir Starnmer has appointed an interim director of comms following the departure of Ben Nunn (pic credit: Getty)

Stephanie Driver, who has been working in Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s office as his chief of comms until now, will step up to the party role until a permanent replacement for Nunn is found.

Driver is highly regarded by colleagues and has a long history working for the Labour Party.

She was head of events to Ed Balls during his time as shadow chancellor and continued in the same role for the leader’s office under Jeremy Corbyn.

Driver, who also previously worked for Harriet Harman, was Labour’s south west regional press officer and stood as the party’s candidate for councillor in Corsham Pickwick in the local elections last month, although she was unsuccessful.

Departure of Nunn

Nunn announced his resignation as director of comms on Friday, following Labour's poor performance in the Chesham and Amersham by-election – in which the party came fourth.

In a letter to colleagues, Nunn said: “The decision to step down has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to take… I’ve had the opportunity to learn and experience so much. Now is the chance for me to go forward and do something different.”

Nunn, a former staffer at Incisive Health and MHP Communications, had been part of Starmer’s comms team since his time as shadow Brexit secretary and ran the comms for Starmer's successful leadership bid last year.

He was appointed director of comms for the party following Starmer’s election as leader.

Separately, Labour’s deputy director of comms, Paul Ovenden, also stepped down last week, citing family reasons for his departure.

A permanent replacement

Meanwhile, the search for a permanent replacement for Nunn will begin in earnest.

The party will want somebody experienced, who understands the Lobby and the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Two names which have been mooted are both senior journalists for The Mirror newspaper.

Kevin Maguire, the newspaper’s associate editor, has strong links with Labour and has been a journalist for nearly 40 years, including a stint as The Guardian’s chief reporter.

Another name mentioned in Labour circles is Maguire’s colleague Pippa Crerar, The Mirror’s political editor and former deputy political editor at The Guardian.

Last month, Labour appointed Gordon Brown's former pollster, Deborah Mattinson, as director of strategy, to help the party develop its core messages.

A spokesperson for Labour said the party did not comment on staffing matters.

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