Michael Gove signs up yet another special adviser from Portland

Written by David Singleton on 27 September 2017 in News

The environment secretary has captured former Vote Leave staffer James Starkie.

Michael Gove has hired Portland associate director James Starkie as a special adviser.

Starkie makes the move to work for the environment secretary after one year at Portland, prior to which he was head of regional press for the Vote Leave campaign.

Portland senior partner and head of corporate Sam Ingleby confirmed the departure, saying: “James has made a big contribution to Portland over the past year, particularly in helping to develop our dedicated Brexit Unit. We wish him well in his new role in government.”

In the new post Starkie will team up with Gove’s current special adviser Henry Cook, who has also worked at Portland.

Cook joined Tim Allan’s agency in January this year, having previously worked for Gove when he was justice secretary. He left Portland in June to team up with the senior Tory for a second time.

Coincidentally, Portland has also employed Gove’s former special adviser at the Department for Education, Henry De Zoete. He spent two years at the agency before joining Gove’s team shortly after the 2010 general election. De Zoete went on to set up The Big Deal, which helps consumers to get lower energy bills.

Another former special adviser to Gove has made the move into public affairs. Beth Armstrong worked for Gove during his stints as education secretary and justice secretary and is now a senior consultant at Teneo Blue Rubicon.

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