UK Government Special Advisers 2014 Conservatives

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Number 10 Policy Unit

  • Ed Llewellyn - Chief of staff: he was appointed in 2005 following David Cameron's victory in the Conservative leadership election. Llewellyn was hired to be Cameron's personal Chief of Staff in his capacity as Leader of the Opposition. Llewellyn continued in this role until 2010. When Cameron became Prime Minister he appointed Llewellyn to the post of the Downing Street Chief of Staff.
  • Craig Oliver - Director of communications: Oliver was appointed this role in 2011 to replace Andy Coulson as top media adviser. Previous jobs include working at the BBC where he was controller of English at BBC Global News as well as working at Channel 5 as their programme editor. [1]
  • Graeme Wilson - Political press secretary: Wilson was appointed in August 2013. He previously worked as deputy political editor of The Sun. [2]
  • Alan Sendorek - Head of press: was appointed in January 2011. Previously he worked at Tory HQ as head of media. Previous roles also include senior press officer to shadow education secretary Michael Gove (MP) and press officer to the shadow education team and therefore shadow home secretary to David Davis (MP).
  • Ameet Gill - Head of strategic communications: Gill started woking for Cameron in 2006. Prior to joining Cameron's team, he was a researcher for the historian Niall Ferguson, assisting him with some of his documentaries. [3]
  • Liz Sugg - Head of events and visits: was appointed in 2010. Sugg also worked in managing media for the Conservative European MPs, as well as at Sky News She later worked for Kenneth Clarke.
  • Gabby Bertin - Director of external relations: She worked as a press aide for Conservative Party leader David Cameron and was appointed as director of external relations in August 2013.
  • Jo Johnson - Head of policy unit: Johnson has been head of the Downing Street Policy Unit since April 2013. He was also appointed Minister of State in July 2014 and has been the Member of Parliament for Orpington since the general election in May 2010. [4]
  • Max Chambers - Policy unit: joined Cameron's team in July 2014. Previously, Chambers worked for Policy Exchange as Senior Research Fellow. He has also worked in Parliament for the Shadow Justice and Home Affairs teams.
  • Daniel Korski - Technology: appointed in June 2013. Korski is a former strategic adviser and spokesman for Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union. He has also worked for Andrew Mitchell, the former Conservative Chief Whip.
  • Nick Seddon - Health: appointed health advisor to UK Prime Minister David Cameron in May 2013. Previously Seddon was deputy director of Reform, and he was also head of communications for Circle, the first private healthcare company to run an NHS hospital, Hinchingbrooke.
  • Tara Singh - Energy and Environment: appointed in May 2013. Singh joined the Number 10 Policy Unit having previously worked for four years from 2009 as a public affairs manager for British Gas owner Centrica plc on British Gas and Centrica Energy issues.
  • Andrew Dunlop - Scotland: appointed as David Cameron's adviser on Scotland in 2012. Mr Dunlop is also a Conservative councillor in West Sussex. Dunlop was also a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher.
  • Laura Trott - Education: appointed in February 2012. She has previously held the role of Chief of Staff to Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General Francis Maude.
  • Emily Ackroyd: appointed as senior policy adviser for Welfare, Employment and Pensions in February 2014. She is a civil servant who previously worked in the Department for Work and Pensions and as Deputy Director for Social Justice.

Deputy Prime Minister's Office

  • James Sorene - Head of communications and spokesman: Since January 2011. Prior to this, he was deputy director of communications and head of news at the Department of Health.
  • Ryan Coetzee - Director of strategy: joined in 2012. Coetzee was the Democratic Alliance’s chief strategist in 1999 in South Africa, he was also special adviser to Helen Zille, the party’s leader, in 2009.
  • Stephen Lotinga - Director of communications: was appointed in 2014. Lotinga was a senior adviser to the Liberal Democrats on public services and health before he worked at lobbying firm Bell Pottinger as an account director following the 2010 General Election. In January 2014 he became managing director of public affairs at another lobbying firm, Edelman.
  • James Holt - Head of government communications: Holt was appointed deputy director of communications following his return to the Liberal Democrats in 2014.
  • James McGrory - Head of political communications: In August 2010, McGrory was moved from the position of justice and home affairs adviser in Downing Street to replace Lena Pietsch as spokesperson for the Deputy Prime Minister.
  • Matthew Hanney - Parliamentary liaison and constitutional affairs: Matthew has worked for Nick Clegg for over six years as a senior policy adviser.
  • Monica Allen - Departmental adviser: formerly a researcher to defence minister Nick Harvey, Allen now watches the defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department of International Development briefs.
  • Alex Dziedzan - Departmental adviser: appointed in 2013. Dziedzan previously was media manager at Nacro. He was also senior account executive for Politics Direct. Other jobs include press and communications officer for Baroness Ludford MEP as well a a research assistant to Nick Clegg.

HM Treasury

  • Rupert Harrison: Harrison started his career with four years at think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies before securing a job with Osborne in 2006 as his chief economic adviser.
  • Eleanor Shawcross: economic adviser to the Chancellor George Osborne. She worked as a management consultant with Boston Consulting, before working for Boris Johnson during his 2008 mayoral election campaign, holding responsibility for writing large parts of his manifesto. Later in 2008, she was appointed an advisor to then Shadow Chancellor.
  • Will De Peyer: is special adviser to Danny Alexander. He has been a Liberal Democrats economics adviser for several years. De Peyer started work for the Lib Dems in 2004, staying until 2007 when he left to take a job in banking. He returned to the party in 2009, advising Vince Cable, Lord Oakeshott and Lord Newby on economic policy.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

  • Nick King: special adviser to Sajid Javid the minister for Department for Culture, Media & Sport. King was originally hired by Britain's culture secretary Maria Miller in 2012.

Department for Communities and Local Government

  • Sheridan Westlake: special adviser to Eric Pickles. Westlake was elected councillor for the Merrow ward in Guildford borough in 2003, and he was re-elected in 2007 with an increased majority. Westlake went on to become deputy director of research for the Conservative Party.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

  • Graham Hook: special adviser to Philip Hammond.He is a former special adviser to Justine Greening in her new role as Transport Secretary in October 2011. Before his appointment Hook was senior consultant at lobbying firm Interel.
  • Denzil Davidson: Denzil Davidson is a researcher to First Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond. He previously held the same role for the previous Foreign secretary, William Hague.

Department of Energy and Climate Change

  • Chris Nicholson: special adviser to Ed Davey. He was previously the chief executive of the liberal CentreForum think tank. Nicholson has a background as a government economist, he was a partner in the corporate finance group at KPMG and the firm's head of public sector.

Department for Transport

  • Julian Glover: currently special adviser focusing on policy at the DfT. Glover made his name as a chief leader writer at the The Guardian before moving to 10 Downing Street to become a speech writer for the Prime Minister.
  • Simon Burton: appointed as special adviser May 2014. From April 2013 until May 2014 Burton was part of the policy and briefing team at Post Office. Previous to this role, Simon was a political adviser to the Conservative Party for two years.

Northern Ireland Office

Home Office

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

  • Ashley Lumsden: appointed in April 2014 as a special adviser to business secretary Vince Cable. Lumsden was a political consultant for the Greater London Authority for two years between 2012 and 2014. Before this, Lumsden was leader of the London Borough of Lambeth Liberal Democrat Group for seven years.

Leader of the House of Commons

  • Arminka Helic: Following William Hague's transfer to the leader of the House of Commons Helic is now working in a general election strategy role for Hague. Previously she was chief of staff to Hague when he was first secretary of state.
  • Chris White: has been the Conservative MP for Warwick and Leamington since 2010.[1] White is now a special adviser to William Hague.

Leader of the House of Lords

  • Flora Rose: appointed special adviser to the Leader of the House of Lords, Tina Stowell in September 2013.Rose was manager of planning & process at CDC Group plcfor nine months in 2013 before her appointment as special adviser.

Scotland Office

  • Euan Roddin: appointed special adviser to Alistair Carmichael and therefore the Scotland Office in July 2010. Previous roles include, spokesman for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, as well as speechwriter and policy adviser for a year. Roddin was also speechwriter & policy adviser to the Office of the Leader of the Liberal Democrat as well as head of office and constituency organiser to Margaret Smith MSP & West Edinburgh Liberal Democrats.

Department for Work and Pensions

Department of Health

Cabinet Office

  • Martha Varney: chief of staff to Minister of State, Cabinet Office Oliver Letwin. Varney has worked for Letwin since 2008, she was a research assistant before becoming his special adviser in May 2010.

Department for International Development

Ministry of Justice

Department for Education

  • Luke Tryl: appointed special adviser to the education secretary and equalities minister Nicky Morgan in July 2014. He has previously worked for the free market think-tank Reform and the lobbying firm Tetra Strategy. Tryl is a Conservative Party activist and lobbyist.
  • Chris Wilkins: appointed special adviser to Nicky Morgan in July 2014. Wilkins is a former policy adviser and speech writer for successive Conservative leaders.


  1. Craig Oliver’s first appearance on camera STV, 2 February 2011, accessed 9 October 2014
  2. James Forsyth, Graeme Wilson of The Sun to be new Downing Street press secretary", The Spectator, 27.08.2013, accessed 17 September 2014.
  3. Tim Walker David Cameron's voice, Ameet Gill, finally speaks The Telegraph, 24 November 2010, accessed 9 October 2014
  4. Jo Johnson GOV.UK, accessed 13 October 2014
  5. David Singleton, "Cameron aide leaves to take BPPA job", PR Week UK, 21.02.07, accessed 13.09.10

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