Theresa May orders clampdown on Whitehall's special advisers

 Adviser appointments to be vetted by new prime minister's May’s joint chiefs of staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy

By John Ashmore

08 Aug 2016

Theresa May is reportedly planning a clampdown on the number of special advisers in Whitehall.

The prime minister wants to limit each Cabinet minister to just two ‘Spads’, while rooting out any “cronies” or “troublemakers”, a government source told The Times.

“She wants to get a grip on expenditure and she wants quality appointments, not people brought in as friends,” the source said.

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Insiders told the paper that adviser appointments were being vetted by May’s joint chiefs of staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy.

“She wants to scrutinise the appointments closely — or get Fiona and Nick to do so,” another source told The Times.

“She wants to make sure that what works for her doesn’t work for anyone else.”

May is apparently keen to avoid taking on any advisers linked to either Michael Gove or George Osborne, both of whom she sacked in her first ministerial reshuffle.

The number of Spads rose sharply under Tony Blair, whose government had over 80 compared to just 38 under John Major.

During the coalition government the number of advisers rose to 107, with some ministers taking on three or four each.

They are responsible for a range of tasks, including policy development, speechwriting, dealing with the media and working with MPs and party officials.

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