Portland loses top Tory Will Tanner to new campaigning think tank

Written by David Singleton on 13 April 2018 in News

Tanner is the first recruit for Onward, which hopes to provide fresh intellectual firepower for the Conservatives.

Theresa May’s former deputy policy chief Will Tanner is to leave his post as chief policy adviser at Portland after being appointed director of new Tory think tank Onward.

The campaign group is being set up by various Conservative operators to revitalise the centre right in British politics and help the Tories reach new groups of voters. 

“Onward will be a new campaigning think tank to develop a new generation of ideas and people for the centre right,” Tanner told Total Politics.

Tanner is the first full-time appointment to be announced. Also involved from the public affairs world are Nick Faith from WPI Strategy and Craig Elder of Edmonds Elder. Both men have part-time advisory roles on the board of the new group.

As a result of taking the new job, Tanner will step down from his part-time role at Portland - less than a year after he joined Tim Allan’s agency to "advise clients on the policy priorities of the Conservative government, including Brexit".

Confirming the move, Portland’s UK managing director Mark Flanagan, said “Will has done a fantastic job as our chief policy advisor and, while he is keen to stay a friend of Portland, it plainly isn’t possible to combine his current role with being the full-time director of a new think tank.

Hinting at a possibly replacement for Tanner, he added: “We still have an impressive bench of policy experts from across the political spectrum and will be strengthening this even further in the coming months.”

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