Howell to steer clear of lobbying after leaving Team Corbyn

Written by David Singleton on 24 August 2017 in News

Steve Howell has no plans to advise clients again.

Freshwater founder Steve Howell will not return to his old job as chief executive, despite standing down as Jeremy Corbyn’s deputy director of communications and strategy.

Earlier this year, Howell took an indefinite leave of absence from Freshwater to join the Labour leader’s team. Last night, PoliticsHome revealed that Howell was leaving the post after around six months. He will continue to undertake work on a part-time basis for the leader's office.

Howell is the only figure in the public affairs industry with clear ties to the Labour leadership, but he told PAN that he would not be trying to capitalise on this.

He said: "I don’t have any plans to go back to client work. I came off client work completely and came off the registers and I intend to stay off the registers as long as I’m doing part-time work for the leader’s office."

Instead, Howell will continue in his role as a non-executive director at the Cardiff-based PR and lobbying agency which he set up in 1997. John Underwood, who was Labour’s communications director from 1990 to 1991, remains in place as acting chief executive at Freshwater.

"It’s something we’ll keep under review but there are no plans to change that arrangement at this stage," said Howell.

"That’s partly because I’m going to be continuing to work for Jeremy Corbyn on a part-time basis so I couldn’t go back to be being chief executive of Freshwater at the moment."

Labour is expected to advertise for a new deputy director of communications and strategy in the coming weeks. Howell stressed that he had always intended to have the post for a limited period because he lives in Cardiff and was staying with a friend in London during the week.

He added: "I’m quite content with being a non-executive director and doing some part-time project work for the Labour party and writing a book or two. That’s quite enough to fill my time."



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