Liz Truss’s chief of staff, Mark Fullbrook, will join the government payroll following a backlash to the news that he was being paid via a lobbying firm, No.10 has confirmed.
Fullbrook will be put on a special advisor contract to avoid "any ongoing speculation", a Downing Street spokesperson said this morning.
It was revealed last week that Fullbrook was being paid as a contractor through his own lobbying firm, Fullbrook Strategies, which he set up in spring.
Fullbrook has said the company has halted its commercial activity, but previously lobbied the UK government on behalf of clients including Libya’s house of representatives and Sante Global, a company that was awarded a £680m PPE contract in 2020.
No.10 defended the arrangement yesterday, which a Cabinet Office spokesperson said was signed off by the department’s propriety and ethics team.
The spokesperson also said it was “not unusual for a special adviser or civil servant to join government on secondment” and that Fullbrook would be “subject to the usual special adviser or civil service codes”.
A spokesperson for Fullbrook meanwhile said the arrangement – which could enable him to pay less tax – was “not unusual”.
“It was not put in place for tax purposes and Mr Fullbrook derives no tax benefit from it,” they said.
But senior civil servants were reported to be dubious about the “highly questionable” decision.
Moving Fullbrook onto the government payroll puts his employment status in line with previous No.10 chiefs of staff, who have been appointed as temporary civil servants or spads.