Clegg chief looks outside 'Westminster bubble'

Nick Clegg's new press secretary has told PRWeek that she wants to make him better known among 'ordinary' people.

Liberal Democrat leader Clegg poached his party's head of media Hannah Gardiner to be his top spokesperson last week. He has also appointed former Saatchi & Saatchi ad man John Sharkey as his strategic comms adviser.

Gardiner said a key priority was to raise Clegg's profile outside of the political pages, getting him better known 'away from the Westminster bubble'.

Gardiner also downplayed comparisons with Tory leader David Cameron. 'We cannot help that the two are a similar age, or that they both went to public school,' she said. 'Lots of people have that in common. But there is a cavity in their political views.'

Before joining the Lib Dems last year, Gardiner was the top PRO at the Association of Chief Police Officers. In this role, she handled issues including the 2005 G8 summit and the 7/7 bombings. She also advised local police on media management in Portugal after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Meanwhile, Sharkey will advise both Clegg and the party on strategic comms issues. Sharkey is a former joint MD of Saatchi & Saatchi UK as well as the man behind Margaret Thatcher's 1987 election advertising campaign.

A spokesperson said: 'John will be advising the party and Nick on a wide range of strategic comms issues for the longer term.'

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