Oliver Dowden

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Twenty-pound-notes.jpg This article is part of the Lobbying Portal, a sunlight project from Spinwatch.
Revolving Door.jpg This article is part of the Revolving Door project of Spinwatch.

Oliver Dowden being interviewed by World Denver Talks

Oliver Dowden has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hertsmere since May 2015. He is a former deputy chief of staff to David Cameron.[1]

In the 2015 general election, he was elected with 59 per cent of the vote and a majority of 18,461. [2]


Dowden studied law at Cambridge. In 2004 he joined the Conservative Research Department. He left the Tories in 2007 to work for the PR and lobbying company Hill & Knowlton but returned to the party to work alongside Andy Coulson in early 2009.[3]

During his time in Cameron's team, Dowden has been described as one of the most highly regarded figures in Downing Street, 'with an expertise in the attacking form of political communications that has led to comparisons with Alastair Campbell',[3] former spindoctor to Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair. His previous roles include working to link Number 10 with the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ), he was replaced in this role by Adam Atashzai, who had worked on the Treasury brief at CCHQ. [4]

Dowden has broad experience in domestic policy reform, immigration, welfare, health and criminal justice. [5]

Dowden left his role as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (Cabinet Office) in October 2014.[6]

Revolving Door

In December 2014, after leaving Downing Street, Mr Dowden took on a Consultant role at Policy Exchange, in which he would advise on a public education project regarding the role free markets play within a free society. Despite occasionally attending seminars whilst in office, ACOBA found no conflict of interest here, and approved the appointment.

In July of 2015, he also sought the advice of ACOBA on an appointment to Political Advisor for the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), a non-profit that represents freelance and self employed individuals. The Committee approved this position as it was made clear that the former Special Adviser's new role would not in any way be involved with his former department, central government, lobbying or parliamentary representation.

In the same month, he was permitted to take on a post as Political Advisor to Caxton Europe Asset Management, a trading and investment firm, on the grounds that he would not be affecting policy and had not effected the organisation during his service to the crown. [7]

Israel Advocacy

In October 2015, Dowden signed a letter in The Guardian along with more than 150 people drawn from the arts and politics. The letter launched Culture for Coexistence, an organisation that opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.[8]


  1. Parliament.UK Oliver Dowden MP, accessed 8 June 2015.
  2. Josh Jackman Election 2015: Tory rising star Oliver Dowden wins comfortably in Hertsmere Jewish Chronicle', 8 May 2015, accessed 21 May 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jane Merrick, 'Olive' in charge after No 10 shake-up Independent, 14 October 2012 , accessed 17 September 2014.
  4. James Forsyth The Downing Street reshuffle The Spectator, 4 September 2012, accessed 27 February 2015
  5. Jyoti Rambhai Prime Minister's Deputy Chief of Staff selected as Conservative candidate for Hertsmere Watford Observer, 8 October 2014, accessed 30 October 2014
  6. Gov.UK Business Appointments Applications: Mr Oliver Dowden26 August 2015, accessed 23 September 2015
  7. Gov.UK Business Appointments Applications: Mr Oliver Dowden26 August 2015, accessed 23 September 2015.
  8. Harriet Sherwood, 'Star authors call for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue rather than boycotts', The Guardian, 22 October 2015, accessed 23 October 2015