Matthew Doyle's appointment is contrary to reports earlier this week that Stephanie Driver, Starmer’s chief of comms, would step up to the job.
Doyle played a key role in the New Labour-era comms operation – he was chief press and broadcasting officer for the party for seven years, spanning two general elections, in 2001 and 2005.
He was then special adviser to former secretary of state for work and pensions David Blunkett, before working at No. 10 under Blair, becoming Downing Street’s deputy director of comms.
Doyle left government with Blair in 2007 to become his political director and spokesperson. He worked with the former Labour leader for five years before setting up his own political consultancy, MLD Advisory.
Doyle returned to a frontline political role briefly during the 2010 general election, when he was former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s television debates media director. Most recently, Doyle was director of comms, Europe, for the International Rescue Committee, until April this year.
Labour is now expected to advertise for a permanent replacement for Benn Nunn, who announced his resignation as Labour’s director of comms last week.
Nunn won praise from political journalists for his tenure as Labour’s director of comms.
Alex Wickham, editor of Politico London Playbook, said Nunn had answered “every annoying WhatsApp” message late into the evening on Christmas Eve last year and said he had been “one of the best in the business in SW1 in recent years, handling it all with professionalism and good humour”.
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