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
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
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