NEWS: Lewis praises Millbank

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.

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

that alone.’



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.



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