The prime minister performed a u-turn today over the appointment of two vanity photographers to the public purse today - having only last week said they would "save the Government and the taxpayer a lot of money". Former Tory party staffer Andrew Parsons and WebCameron filmmaker Nicky Woodhouse will now be paid by the Conservative party, and not the civil service.
The prime minister performed a u-turn today over the appointment of two vanity photographers to the public purse – having only last week said they would “save the Government and the taxpayer a lot of money”. Former Tory party staffer Andrew Parsons and WebCameron filmmaker Nicky Woodhouse will now be paid by the Conservative party, and not the civil service.
Though welcome, Mr Cameron will come under further pressure to shift more party hacks off the public payroll and back to their party headquarters. Currently, there are more than 80 such individuals employed as civil servants at taxpayers’ expense, some of whom are not special advisers, who are exempted from impartiality rules.
Last Tuesday, the Guido Fawkes website named an additional five Conservative and two Liberal Democrat workers who had been moved into ‘neutral’ civil service roles in Number 10, the Department for Education, the Home Office and the Cabinet Office. These include DfE policy adviser Sam Freedman.
During the election, ‘neutral’ Mr Freedman’s many well thought out tweets included:
May 7: “Oh look Harriet’s husband is even dafter than she is.”
May 10: “I’d love to see one of those “who thinks a hung parliament is a good idea” polls tomorrow….”
May 12: “Incredible that this coalition Govt is more united than when Lab arrived in 1997 with Blair and Brown’s teams already at each others throats.”
The other Tory hacks are Isabel Spearman (Samantha Cameron’s ‘righthand woman’); Anna-Maren Ashford (Mr Cameron’s ‘brand communications chief’); Jo Penn (Tory work and pensions wonk); and Rishi Saha (Conservative party head of new media – still listed on the official Tory website). The taxpayer-funded Lib Dem hacks, meanwhile, are Tim Snownball (Nick Clegg’s aide and campaign tour organiser); and Zena Elmarouki (Mr Clegg’s deputy speechwriter).
As Guido explains:
“… Dave promised to cut the numbers of partisan aide-de-camps paid for by the taxpayer. The LibDems went even further and pledged in their manifesto to take SpAd’s off the public payroll and make parties pay for them out their own funds.”
Another day, another Lib Dem broken pledge? Mr Cameron has acted; will he now go further, and will Mr Clegg follow his example?Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.