FRONT PAGE: Number 10 ushers in web guru for revamp

The much-publicised shake-up of the Downing Street media operation entered phase two this week as a new digital communications guru was secretly ushered into Number 10.

Gordon Brown: focusing on the web
Gordon Brown: focusing on the web

Former MD of London radio network LBC Mark Flanagan has been named head of digital comms, with a brief to overhaul Prime Minister Gordon Brown's lacklustre web strategy. It is understood more hires could be on the way as the Government prepares for the first general election to be fought largely over the internet.

Former journalist Flanagan is the fourth senior addition to the Downing Street comms team since ex-Brunswick CEO Stephen Carter took the helm earlier this year as chief of strategy and prin­cipal adviser to the PM. Carter's No 10 shake-up has attracted widespread press coverage amid suggestions of tensions in Downing Street.

But Flanagan was keen to stress he is ‘not part of the new influx'. He insis­ted: ‘I am not a Carter hire.' Rather, Flanagan reports to head of strategic comms Martin Sheehan.

Downing Street has been lacking an experienced web strategist since former dig­ital chief Jimmy Leach moved to Freuds last year .

Flanagan has already set about bringing Brown's online comms up to date, launching a Twitter feed during his first week on the job. He will go head-to-head with Tory digital guru Rishi Saha in the run-up to the next election.

Tony Blair's former comms director David Hill, now at Bell Pottinger, told PRWeek: ‘He's an excellent choice.'

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