Downing Street names PM's new official spokesperson

Former DHSC head of news Max Blain appointed to £120k role
PA

By Jim Dunton

10 Feb 2021

The Prime Minister's Office has hired Max Blain as Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson, succeeding James Slack in the role.

Blain, who is a former head of news at the Department of Health and Social Care, has also previously worked at the Department for Education. No.10 said he would take up his new post in April. 

The Cabinet Office launched a recruitment campaign for the prime minster’s next official spokesperson in December, following a chaotic reshuffle in Downing Street that saw Slack promoted to director of communications after Lee Cain quit the role.

It advertised the spokesperson job with a salary of £92,000-£120,000 a year,  and targeted a communications professional with a “strong grasp of foreign and domestic policy issues” and “a proven track record of leading a high-performing team”.

The advert cautioned: “The demands of the post are high and will appeal to a very experienced and confident media operator who enjoys working with senior ministers, political advisers, officials and journalists.”

The comms reshuffle that paved the way for Blain’s appointment was kicked off after a tumultuous week that saw Cain's resignation closely followed by that of the prime minister’s former chief spad, Dominic Cummings.

Cain had been offered a promotion to become Boris Johnson’s chief of staff, but the opportunity was withdrawn, reportedly following opposition within Downing Street – including from the prime minister’s partner Carrie Symonds and newly-appointed press secretary Allegra Stratton.

Johnson brought in Lord Edward Lister as interim chief of staff – reprising a role he undertook when the PM was mayor of London. He subsequently appointed former Treasury official Dan Rosenfield as permanent chief of staff with effect from the start of this year.

Read the most recent articles written by Jim Dunton - Staff churn ‘means lawyers have better policy knowledge than officers’

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