James Frayne

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James Frayne is a former lobbyist who worked as director of communications to then education minister Michael Gove at the UK Department for Education.

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.

In November 2014 Frayne was hired as director of policy and strategy at Policy Exchange, one of the UK's most high-profile neoconservative think tanks. [1]


According to his own biography

James Frayne has worked at the highest levels of corporate, political, and government communications. He was director of communications for a British government department between 2011 and 2012, having previously worked for some of the biggest brands in the world in communications agencies in London and for a number of high-profile political campaigns.
James began his career working for Business for Sterling, the successful campaign against British membership of the European single currency, and he managed the No campaign against the proposed North East Regional Assembly in the 2004 referendum, which won an upset landslide against the government-backed Yes Campaign.
He also worked for the think tank Reform - helping launch the Doctors for Reform campaign to change the NHS - and has been campaign director of the TaxPayers Alliance. In 2011 the Guardian described him as being "one of the best Tory-leaning strategists".
As a campaign spokesman and analyst, James has appeared widely in broadcast media, including BBC One Breakfast News, the BBC News Channel, Sky News, Radio 4 Today Programme and PM Programme, BBC Radio 5 Live, and on numerous local BBC TV and radio stations and international TV stations.
He has written for The Spectator, Daily Telegraph, City A.M., the BBC News website, The Business magazine, PR Week, CorpComms magazine, and various blogs, including Conservative Home. The editor of Conservative Home named James blog - Campaign war room - Blog of the Year in 2010. [2]


Overly-influential education spad

In 2013 an unnamed member of the Department for Education complained about how Frayne and another of Gove's special advisers (spads) Dominic Cummings ran the department. The Independent newspaper reported that it took a private settlement of £25,000 to stop allegations of bullying and intimidation reaching a tribunal. [3]


According to his former biography on the website of lobbyists Westbourne Communications' website

James Frayne “pioneered the use of grassroots ‘people power’ campaigns for business and campaign groups”.

At the time Frayne worked for Westbourne it ran the astroturf Campaign for High Speed Rail.

Frayne was also behind the launch of the ‘Doctors for Reform’ campaign which claimed to represent a membership of 1000 ordinary medical practitioners in favour of a reformed health service, but which didn’t disclose its funding. It was, however, supported by the free-market think tank Reform, itself funded by private healthcare companies.




  1. Rod Muir PX post for Gove’s comms man PublicAffairs News, 11 November 2014, accessed 5 December 2014
  2. James Frayne author profile, Harriman House, accessed 17 February 2014
  3. ‘Dump f***ing everyone’: the inside story of how Michael Gove’s vicious attack dogs are terrorising the DfE [1], accessed Sept 2014