Carter continues his Number 10 overhaul

Downing Street comms supremo Stephen Carter has begun a trawl for a talented speech writer to join the team at Number 10 amid concern that Gordon Brown's big speeches are failing to resonate with the public.

Carter: seeking speech writer
Carter: seeking speech writer

Former Brunswick CEO Carter is understood to have made tentative contact with a trio of Tony Blair's speech writers - Peter Hyman, David Bradshaw and Phil Collins - to see if they are interested in ret­urning to Number 10.

Long-serving Brown aide Spencer Livermore previously helped with most of Brown's key speeches - but he left Downing Street last week.

Currently Brown's chief speech writer is former Treasury civil servant Beth Russell, although the PM has inc­reasingly been relying on his close friend Colin Currie - a doctor by trade - to draft his speeches. Currie is currently working alongside Russell on a part-time basis.

Downing Street insiders indicated that Carter had expressed concern about this set-up. One senior source said: ‘It has been ack­now­le­dged that the Governme­nt's messa­ges are too cluttered and that Gordon needs to show a bit more personality, rather than stilted language that he tends to use when he makes these speeches.'

Carter quit Brunswick to become Bro­wn's chief of strategy earlier this year. Since then he has set about overhauling the Number 10 media team, hiring new blood so that Brown no lon­ger rel­ies on former Treasury aides to manage his reputation. Key hires so far include WPP ad man David Muir and Which? comms chief Nick Stace (PRWeek, 7 March).

Carter is also understood to be reviewing the position of Brown's long-serving opinion pollster Deborah Mattinson, employed by Chime Communications. At the same time, Brunswick is turning its in-house res-earch unit into a standalone bus­iness called Brunswick Res­earch.

The business will be a 12-strong rival to YouGov and Opinion Lea­der Research and will be headed by Gra­eme Trayner, a former adv­iser to Tony Blair's polling guru Phillip Gould.

However, the new business will focus on corporate work, meaning it is unlikely that Carter will invite his former colleagues into Downing Street.

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