Craig Oliver

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Craig Oliver, Channel 4 News interview

Craig Oliver nicknamed ‘Sir Spin’, was former UK prime minister David Cameron’s political and communications director. [1]

Oliver led Cameron’s unsuccessful Remain campaign in the run-up to the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union in June 2016. He left his Downing Street job in July 2016 when the new prime minister Theresa May took office.

The former spin doctor was handed a knighthood in Cameron’s controversial resignation honours list. [2]

Revolving door controversy

In August 2016 Sir Craig Oliver sparked controversy when signing up to a £50,000 per night speaker tour by the company Kruger Cowne in the US, just a few weeks after quitting Downing Street. [1]

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Two months later he was hired by Teneo, a US-based global consultancy company advising firms on Brexit. He is said to be 'paid a six-figure salary' as an adviser to pro-EU firms such as Nissan, Coca-Cola and HSBC on making the best of Brexit. His appointment is a coup for Teneo said Tamasin Cave of Spinwatch:
‘Craig Oliver is a man with huge inside knowledge and an enviable contacts book. [...] If anyone is going to get to the front of the queue to get to those influential in Brexit, it’s him. Teneo’s clients must pay a fair whack to influence what happens next in the Brexit negotiations.'

Oliver's application to work for Teneo has apparently not yet been approved by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA). His former colleague William Hague also joined Teneo’s Brexit unit six weeks beforehand. [2]

Early career

Born in Nottinghamshire, Oliver's family moved up to Scotland where he attended Stirling High School. There he worked as a contemporary of broadcaster Kirsty Young. Oliver went on to study at St Andrews University. After gaining a postgraduate MA in broadcast journalism, Oliver got his first break as a news assistant at STV news. [3]

Oliver, who is married to BBC news presenter Joanna Gosling, went on to join ITN in 1993, later becoming a producer of ITV’s News at 10. His career also includes a spell as Channel 5’s programme editor and a brief stint at Channel 4 before he moved to the BBC as an editor and executive.

Oliver became controller of English at BBC Global News, having previously been editor of the BBC's flagship Ten o'clock News. [4]

Chief spin doctor

Oliver was appointed Cameron's director of communications in 2011 to replace former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as a top media adviser. In May 2015 his role and title was changed to political and communications director.[5] After the 2015 general election Oliver's brief was broadened to include domestic policy.[6]

As director of communications Oliver earned £140,0000 a year in 2014. [7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Harry Cole, CRONIES CASH IN David Cameron’s former spin doctor will make massive £50k a NIGHT as public speaker, The Sun, 16 August 2016. Accessed 10 October 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Daniel Martin, Sir Spin cashes in on Brexit: Cameron press chief Sir Craig Oliver's new job is at a lobby firm advising on leaving the EU, Daily Mail, 08 October 2016. Accessed 10 October 2016.
  3. Who is Craig Oliver and how will the Scot fare as David Cameron's new communications director? The Scotsman, 11 February 2011, accessed 9 October 2014
  4. fix ref
  5. BBC's Craig Oliver replacing Andy Coulson at No 10 BBC, 2 February 2011, accessed 15 October 2014
  6. Frances Perraudin Sunday Times columnist Camilla Cavendish to head No 10 policy unit Guardian 21 May 2015, accessed 26 May 2015.
  7. Special advisers in post, 30 November 2014 GOV.UK, accessed 28 April 2015