Steve Hilton

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Steve Hilton is a former spindoctor to Prime Minister David Cameron. In March 2012 he took a one year sabbatical from his job as 'strategic advisor' at Downing Street's policy unit, joining Stanford University as a visiting scholar. [1]

In April 2013, Hilton returned to Downing Street in a part-time unpaid policy role as a member of David Cameron's new Conservative Parliamentary Advisory Board,[2] a role he has since left.

In May 2015 he joined Policy Exchange as a visiting scholar.[3]

Cameron's closest adviser

Formerly in advertising, Hilton worked with Cameron on the 1992 election campaign. He set up his own company, Good Business, but spent six months "in a darkened room", thinking up ways to help his friend to win. Sharp and quick-witted, he is credited with many of Mr Cameron's new buzzwords. [4] He and his wife former Tory spindoctor Rachel Whetstone, who now works for Google were also godparents to Mr Cameron's eldest child, Ivan, who died in February 2009.[5]

Hilton has a 'studiously low profile' but is reportedly involved in every decision Cameron takes, according to The Times. He is 'intensely proud' that by May 2010 only two public photos existed of him with Cameron. 'In one they are standing so far apart that magazines are forced to run it over a double-page spread.' [6] He earnt £90,000 a year.[7]


From 2012-13 Hilton was a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International. This involved teaching, research and writing about government and public services. He was also a visiting fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

Criticism of the 'insular ruling elite'

In May 2015, after the general election, Hilton attacked the way the country is run and warned of an 'insular ruling class' that is threatening democracy in the UK. In an interview with The Sunday Times, he said:

'When the corporate bosses, the MPs, the journalists [….] all go to the same dinner parties and social events, all live near one another, all send their children to the same schools (from which they themselves mainly came), an insular ruling class develops.
'It is a democracy in name only, operating on behalf of a tiny elite no matter the electoral outcome. I know because I was part of it.'

He also criticised the external influences politicians are subject to:

'It is hard to mistake what donors intend when they give money to political parties and campaigns. Or what business people want when they take politicians and civil servants to dinner, the opera, the Brits, Wimbledon.'[8]



  1. Top British advisor joins Stanford as visiting scholar, Stanford University, 12 March 2012, acc 8 September 2014
  2. Steve Hilton returns to Downing Street for part-time policy role accessed 8 September 2014
  3. David Singleton Hilton signs for Policy Exchange Public Affairs News, 14 May 2015, accessed 18 May 2015.
  4. Anthony Browne and Andrew Pierce, Secretive guru behind the new Dave project The Times, 5 October 2006.
  5. Graham Brough, Tory Lord of the spins The Mirror, 23 May 2010 (accessed September 1, 2010).
  6. John Arlidge, Britain's new political elite The Times, 23 May 2010 (accessed September 1, 2010).
  7. Cabinet Office, Written Ministerial Statement on Special Adviser numbers, costs and revised model contract and code of conduct, 10 June, 2010 (accessed 7 September 2010).
  8. Ruby Stockham Cameron’s ex-guru slams ‘insular ruling class’ in government Left Foot Forward, 18 May 2015, accessed 18 May 2015.