Conservative Diary

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The number of SPADs should be the Coalition’s first U-turn

Every new administration has teething problems but one of the biggest teething problems for this new administration has been the appointment of special advisers (SpAds). Downing Street ideally wants a communications-focused SPAD per Cabinet minister but if departments are only allowed one SPAD that denies the Cabinet minister a policy-focused aide. In opposition the Conservatives had believed a reduction in the number of SPADs was a good way of cutting the cost of politics but – almost inevitably – they are now regretting the lack of political muscle that a reduced number would mean. Reversing the SPADs promise should be Cameron’s first U-turn. Restricting the number doesn't save much money and, more importantly, they're vital to drive through policy.

Tim Montgomerie


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