Portland pounces for Gove adviser
Tim Allan’s agency signs up Henry Cook to strengthen its Brexit unit.
Michael Gove’s former special adviser Henry Cook has joined Portland as an associate director.
Cook makes the move into lobbying after almost four years as an aide to Gove, having worked for the Tory MP during his time as education secretary and then justice secretary. Most recently Cook also served as chief adviser to Gove in his capacity as co-chair of the Vote Leave campaign.
In the new post, Cook will report into partner Victoria Dean, who joined Portland in November to lead its dedicated Brexit unit.
Dean said in a statement: “We’re thrilled to welcome Henry to the Portland team. He brings a strong understanding of the workings of Government as well as political insight into the Brexit process and the personalities involved, which will help our clients to understand how they can play a role in shaping Britain’s post-Brexit future.”
Cook said: “Portland has a strong reputation for strategic consultancy. It was also among the first to establish a Brexit unit and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to deliver the very best in advice for clients in this area.”
Other recent hires to Portland’s Brexit unit include Vote Leave regional press chief James Starkie and Britain Stronger in Europe press office manager Amy Richards. Both joined as associate directors.
Portland’s new hire comes seven years after Gove nabbed then Portland consultant Henry de Zoete to be one of his first special advisers. De Zoete went on to set up campaigning consumer collective The Big Deal.