Downing Street Press Secretary

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Downing Street Press Secretary
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Royal Arms as used by Her Majesty's Government
Paul Harrison

since 26 July 2017
Prime Minister's Office
AppointerPrime Minister
First holderBaron Francis-Williams
Website10 Downing Street

The Downing Street Press Secretary is an advisor to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on news media and how to manage the image of the British government to the press. The position is part of the Prime Minister's Office and involves using information on what is happening in the UK and around the world, to decide on how the Prime Minister should present his or her reaction to the media. The incumbent also advises on how to handle news stories and other information which could affect the current Prime Minister or the Ministry.

The current Press Secretary is Paul Harrison, following the resignation of Lizzie Loudon on 18 April 2017.


The Press Secretary will address the lobby correspondents at 10 Downing Street to give journalists information on events attended by the Prime Minister, as well as current affairs in Downing Street and in Parliament.[1] The Press Secretary works within the Prime Minister's Office and the Downing Street Press Office.


Various political advisers have in the past acted in a press secretary role; Francis Williams, a journalist who had served in the Ministry of Information during the Second World War, served under Clement Attlee,[2] as 'Adviser on Public Relations'.[3] Winston Churchill shunned the role, and did not appoint anyone to the role until several months into his premiership, when he hired Fife Clark.[3] In 1997 Alastair Campbell was appointed by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. When David Cameron was elected, Gabby Bertin who had previously served as the head of press for the Conservative Party became the Downing Street Press Secretary.[4] She was later replaced by Susie Squire in 2012.[5] In July 2016 when Theresa May became Prime Minister, Lizzie Loudon was appointed as her Press Secretary. Following the resignation of Loudon in April 2017, Paul Harrison took over the role after the general election on 8 June.

List of Press Secretaries[edit]

# Press Secretary Years Prime Minister
1 Francis Williams 1945–1947 Clement Attlee[2]
2 Philip Jordan 1947–1951
3 Reginald Bacon 1951
4 Fife Clark 1952–1955 Winston Churchill[2]
5 William D. Clark 1955–1956 Anthony Eden[2]
6 Alfred Richardson 1956–1957
7 Harold Evans 1957–1963 Harold Macmillan[6]
8 John Groves 1963–1964 Alec Douglas-Home[7]
9 Trevor Lloyd-Hughes 1964–1969 Harold Wilson[8]
10 Joe Haines 1969–1970
11 Donald Maitland[9] 1970–1973 Edward Heath
12 Robin Haydon[10] 1973–1974
13 Joe Haines 1974–1976 Harold Wilson
14 Tom McCaffrey 1976–1979 James Callaghan[11]
15 Henry James[10] 1979 Margaret Thatcher
16 Bernard Ingham 1979–1990
17 Gus O'Donnell[12] 1990–1993 John Major
18 Christopher Meyer[2] 1993–1996
19 Jonathan Haslam[13] 1996–1997
20 Alastair Campbell 1997–2001 Tony Blair[3]
21 Godric Smith 2001–2003
22 Tom Kelly
23 Damian McBride 2007–2009 Gordon Brown[14]
24 Gabby Bertin 2010–2012 David Cameron
25 Susie Squire 2012–2013
26 Graeme Wilson 2013–2016
27 Lizzie Loudon 2016–2017 Theresa May
28 Paul Harrison 2017–present

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lobby correspondents". BBC News Online. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Memorandum submitted by Colin Seymour-Ure, Professor of Government, University of Kent at Canterbury (Report). Public Administration Select Committee. April 1998. Archived from the original on 30 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Seymour-Ure, Colin (2003). Prime Ministers and the Media: Issues of Power and Control. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0631187677.
  4. ^ Singleton, David (19 May 2013). "Warning to Cameron as Tory advisers take Downing Street comms jobs". PR Week. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  5. ^ Owens, John (31 October 2012). "Prime Minister picks Jean-Christophe Gray and Susie Squire for top comms roles". PR Week. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  6. ^ Seymour-Ure, Colin (1996). "Prime Minister and the Public". Churchill to Major: The British Prime Ministership since 1945. Routledge. ISBN 1563246368.
  7. ^ "John Groves". The Daily Telegraph. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Sir Trevor Lloyd-Hughes". The Daily Telegraph. 22 February 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Sir Donald Maitland". The Daily Telegraph. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  10. ^ a b Ball, Stuart; Seldon, A., eds. (1996). The Heath Government 1970-74: A Reappraisal. London: Routledge. ISBN 0582259916.
  11. ^ Hoggart, Simon (11 November 1999). "No joke for No 10 when a Hague gag hits the target". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  12. ^ Smedley, Tim (28 January 2015). "Gus O'Donnell: Number 10's ultimate insider". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  13. ^ Cann, Richard (7 January 2005). "Profile: Grand schemer - Jonathan Haslam, director of group communications, Jarvis". PR Week. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  14. ^ Seldon, Anthony; Lodge, Guy (2011). Brown at 10. Biteback. ISBN 1849541221.

External links[edit]