Derek Lewis, the former head of the Prison Service whose sacking by Home
Secretary Michael Howard dominated the news agenda last week said he
wouldn’t have ‘had hope’ of getting his message across without the
support of public relations agency Millbank.
Lewis called in Millbank on the Monday he was dismissed by Howard. He
had previously worked with the agency on the launch of cable and
satellite channel UK Gold in 1992 when he was acting chief executive.
‘The Home Office has an immense press resource and would have dominated
the agenda,’ Lewis told PR Week.
‘Either I resigned and implicitly accepted the criticism levelled
against me or I stood up for what I believed was right. I needed to be
able to communicate the reasons for my decision and could not have done
Lewis, who is paying Millbank from personal funds praised the agency’s
‘flexibility and ability to jump into the breach’.
Millbank managing director Diana Soltmann said at the peak of media
interest the agency handled over 350 calls a day. ‘Journalists kept
asking us whether we were a celebrity handler. But this wasn’t about
promoting an individual, it was about promoting an issue - the future of
the prison service,’ she said.
The agency continues to work for Lewis.