Irvine PR move leaves Thompson doubting

Sheila Thompson, head of communications at the Lord Chancellor’s department for more than seven years, has told PR Week she is ’considering her position’ following Lord Irvine’s decision to appoint a more senior director of communications - a new post in the department.

Sheila Thompson, head of communications at the Lord Chancellor’s

department for more than seven years, has told PR Week she is

’considering her position’ following Lord Irvine’s decision to appoint a

more senior director of communications - a new post in the

department.



If Thompson were to leave she would be the ninth Departmental head of

information to quit since last year’s election.



The four candidates shortlisted for the new post include Allan Percival,

the Prime Minister’s deputy press secretary and Alastair Campbell’s

second-in-command at 10 Downing Street, who was previously press

secretary to the Prince of Wales.



The shortlisted candidates were interviewed by the departmental board

last Monday and a decision is expected within a week, once second

interviews have been held with the Lord Chancellor himself.



The official reason for the appointment of a more senior post within the

Lord Chancellor’s department is the increased responsibilities which

Irvine holds compared to his predecessor, including managing the

Government’s constitutional reform programme and membership of several

Cabinet committees.



In the past four months, Lord Irvine has also been under media pressure

after a series of PR hiccups, mainly concerning spending pounds 650,000

of public money on redecorating his official residence in the House of

Lords.



Leader, p9.



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