This week the Diary salutes ex-Referendum Party chief press
officer, and former Tory Central Office head of news, Michael
At 70, after 40 years in journalism, let alone stints under Margaret
Thatcher, John Major and James Goldsmith, most of us would be happily
tending our dahlias.
But not Gunton. He has just launched a nationwide media services company
for regional media, the Impress Network, staffed by nine other senior
hacks and PR people - eight of whom are past or present Referendum Party
regional press officers.
The only non-Referendum Party member is Gunton’s wife Judith Patten,
founder of public relations company JPPR.
Gunton, who left the Referendum Party amid rumours of acrimony with
billionaire Goldsmith’s personal PR adviser Patrick Robertson, dismisses
suggestions that he should be taking it easy.
’If you stop work you get old,’ he tells me. ’There is nothing we cannot
do in regional media promotion. We have the combined talent to do almost