FRONT PAGE: Comms rejig at Number 10

Gordon Brown is beefing up his comms team with the hire of a new strategic comms adviser and at least two digital PR experts.

Nick Stace
Nick Stace

Nick Stace will start on Monday as special adviser on strategic political comms. He recently quit as director of campaigns and comms at consumer body Which?

PRWeek has also learned that Brown is looking to hire at least two specialists in digital comms to strengthen the Government's new media capability. Tory leader David Cameron set the trend last year by launching his ‘WebCameron' blog as a way of appealing to voters.

Stace has been a vocal ­opponent of government policy in the past, but he told PRWeek that his past as a government troublemaker was part of the reason Brown offered him a job.

‘I was perceived to be a ­real challenge,' said Stace. ‘Gordon Brown doesn't want "yes" men around him. He wants people who are ­going to put the case for what the public really wants.'

Also moving to Downing Street are WPP ad man David Muir, who joins as dir­ector of political strategy, and Goldman Sachs banker Jennifer Moses, who will work alongside Stace.

Earlier this year, Brown appointed former Brunswick CEO Stephen Carter as his chief political adviser, charging him with improving the media operation at Number 10. Brown currently relies on two former aides he brought over from the Treasury - Damian McBride and Michael Ellam.

It is understood that Car­ter recently held talks with Pearson comms director Luke Swanson and ex-ITV head of news Clive Jones, but sources said these talks had fallen through. Number 10 declined to comment.

The Sunday Times former political editor David Cracknell, recently installed as chairman of FD-LLM, said: ‘While Number 10 has day-to-day matters and relations with political editors organised, Carter is bringing in a longer-term strategy ahead of the next general election.

What Stace will do is add to that comms strategy by building up a longer-term PR campaign based on a six- to 12-month period.'

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