Coffee House

Graeme Wilson of The Sun to be new Downing Street press secretary

27 August 2013

11:28 AM

27 August 2013

11:28 AM

The Cameron operation’s effort to move onto an election footing continues with a set of new appointments to the Number 10 political operation. Gabby Bertin, who has been with Cameron since he became Tory leader, will return from maternity leave to become director of external relations. Bertin, who was previously Cameron’s political spokeswoman, will be responsible for forging – and maintaining Downing Street’s – relations with business, pressure groups and charities.

The appointment of one of his most trusted aides to this role is a sign of how imperative Cameron believes it is to prevent Labour from securing business support at the next election. Bertin’s return will be greeted with particular delight in Number 10 as she is one of the few people whose listened to if they tell Cameron where he is going wrong. But Bertin will not be dealing with the press in her new, enhanced role.


Graeme Wilson, currently deputy political editor of The Sun, will take on the role of Downing Street press secretary. By hiring Wilson, Craig Oliver, Number 10’s director of communications, has brought one of the most respected political journalists in Fleet Street into his team. The high regard in which Wilson is held will boost relations between Number 10 and the political print press. Though I suspect there’ll be some bleating about Cameron hiring another journalist from a Murdoch paper.

Oliver has spent much of the last few months trying to make sure that the Downing Street political operation and Conservative Campaign Headquarters work seamlessly together. This summer’s Tory message discipline –and the pressure it has put on Labour—is taken as a sign that this work is bearing fruit.

Political operations can’t change the fundamentals of politics; they can’t make the economy grow faster. But the reason why these appointments matter beyond the gates of Downing Street, is that a good operation takes its chances and a bad — or divided one — does not: just look at how the confused Tory campaign in 2010 failed to capitalise on Gordon Brown’s unpopularity.  If the Tories can prevent a recurrence of these problems, then they’ll have a better chance of still having a hold on Downing Street after the next election.

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Show comments
  • Nick

    I wonder how long it will be until the scandal breaks regarding Wilson? What do you think it will be?…Lending Cameron a horse? …..Or maybe sucking someone’s toes?
    Or here’s a goodn’…….cheap-a-mundo holidays on a Russian billionaire’s yacht? With beautiful blond Russian night shift workers asking,’vot can I do for you darlink’?

  • Fergus Pickering

    The Tories couldn’t win in because they had had a series of bad leaders since the fal of Maggie Thatcher. Cameron was, and is, much better than Major or Duncan-Smith or Michael Howard. But he had the nasty party round his neck. He did, and does, remarkably well, not that you lot would ever admit it.

    • dmitri the impostor

      Ferg, you old romantic, you. If Dave did indeed ‘detoxify the Tory brand’ how come he only won only 36% of the vote against the most disastrous administration in living memory? It is all in your mind, Ferg. You have spent too much time poncing about in the meadows like Fotherington-Thomas, going ‘Hello, clouds. Hello, sky.’

      • Fergus Pickering

        Why you funny old thing. Recite Wordsworth’s Daffodils. Do it now.

  • David Lindsay

    Cameron doesn’t learn, does he?

    • telemachus

      We’ll learn him

  • CharlietheChump

    Also no wee Georgie as campaign supremo will help

  • Smithersjones2013

    just look at how the confused Tory campaign in 2010 failed to capitalise on Gordon Brown’s unpopularity

    Not to forget the complete cock-up Oliver has made of icommunications for three years. I really don’t see that putting another Sun journo in the firing line is going to help after all Coulson couldn’t stop Cameron and Osborne’s inadequacy and ineptness from shining through so what chance has Wilson now we’ve seen the dysfunctional duo in action in government for three years

  • NBeale

    This all sounds pretty positive. The economic news continues to be remarkably good and the Labour lead in the opinion polls continues to deflate slowly.

    But a serious military entanglement in Syria could create major problems, but then people are dying on an enormous scale. I’m very glad I don’t have to decide. At least we know that Dominic Grieve will give a completely honest opinion on the legality of any action.

    • Smithersjones2013

      How much did Osborne borrow last month?

  • Toffer99

    I wonder why Graeme Wilson?
    Oh, of course. Last journo at The Sun to remain unarrested!

  • HookesLaw

    Why waste words on articles ?
    Just print the word Cameron (it might be too inflammatory to print ‘Muslim’ or ‘black’) and then go off to have tea and biscuits. You will still get all the same old same old regurgitated agitprop loony toon nutjob brainless rubbish commented back as a result.

    Indeed why save us all a lot of bother and just put up a new open thread on your banner across the top. ‘Nutjobs’. Then maybe serious discussion can be had elsewhere.

    • Smithersjones2013

      You will still get all the same old same old regurgitated agitprop loony
      toon nutjob brainless rubbish commented back as a result.

      And lo and behold up pops Hookeslaw. He must have been looking in the mirror when he wrote this.

    • NotYouNotSure

      I suppose this incoherent rant makes sense in your world.

    • Alexandrovich

      A donkey led by donkeys…

  • rtj1211

    Rupe’s diplomatic relationships with UK Governments still stretches to a formal Ambassadorial seat inside the bunker, I see……

  • Dougie

    “… one of the few people who’s listened to …”

  • sarahsmith232

    it surely can’t be that legal that in a democracy the Left can get away with thwarting the re-drawing of constituency boundaries to suit their political ends. in which case then, all these judicial review things, no idea what they are but they seem to be getting used to block anything. surely someone can bring one to block the thwarting of the re-drawing of the boundaries? surely?
    what would it take? someone in one of the constituencies that badly needs to be re-drawn bringing one, I presume? saw a Tory MP say that in Harrow/Harlow/somewhere the Tories got more votes but Labour still kept it’s MP ’cause of this business. I really don’t understand it other than population movement, it all needs to change, Left blocked it, so Tories need 40% whereas Labour can get back in power with only 35%.
    a Judicial Review could surely sort this? wouldn’t it? someone in Downing St get on that, please

  • telemachus

    Now just take us thru the relationships here
    Did Wilson work for Coulson?
    Did Wilson work for Brookes?
    Has Wilson ever lived in Chipping Norton?

    • telemackus

      We are correct. Has he also been Godfather to Cameron’s children? Like Tom Baldwin, Milibands’s PR chief, who worked for the Times, he is an ex-Murdoch man. Unlike Baldwin, he did not work for the GMB so he is unfortunately not tainted by association with the unions. More good news to achieve 1000 years of socialism under Mrs Balls and her husband Mr Cooper.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    All this bubble tittle tattle misses the point entirely.

    You Speccie teenagers are perfect for the reality tv and celebrity infotainment culture, but for the serious this is just useless fluff. So, Call Me Dave is bringing back the same bubble denizens or their like, and a few Obamabots interspersed throughout? So tell us what else is new?

    This same useless mob lost an unloseable election in 2010. You best plan on explaining what is different today, if you seek relevance, lad.

  • Austin Barry

    It’ll be interesting to see how Cameron’s press office presents his astonishing idiocy in getting involved in yet another of the endless, and endlessly savage, Muslim sectarian wars.

    To which domestic constituency does Cameron think this quixotic adventure will play well?

    Realpolitik suggests we should just sit back and observe this savagery, with a cold eye and ironic detachment – at least while the Religion of Peace limits the butchery to its halal abbatoir.

    • Noa

      His thunder on this issue has already been stolen by Russia’s deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozin, whose description of the West
      behaving “like a monkey with a grenade”, is so apt that one images Mills bombs, like laptops and Iphones are issued as standard management tools to the Coalition cabinet. A shame that they don’t just stick to the bananas in the fruit bowl.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    As a PR spiv dave might have got it right.

    But at the end of the day it’s still PR and these best laid plans of mice and rats can still be blown away by events. Successfully pirouetting on the head of a pin sure is impressive but….