Gabby Bertin is one of David Cameron’s long-marchers; she has been with him since he won the leadership in 2005. Bertin has acted as his political spokeswoman for the last seven years, pushing the Cameron message and dealing calmly with the inevitable crises and mishaps.
Few people know what Cameron thinks as well as Bertin does and are as prepared as her to tell him when he is going wrong. Cameron, for his part, values Bertin’s ability to, in his words, ‘see round corners.’ But in a fortnight’s time, she goes off on six months maternity leave.
I understand that Susie Squire, currently running the press operation at CCHQ, will step into Bertin’s shoes. Squire, who was previously IDS’s special adviser, is respected in the party and by the press which should ease the transition. Alan Sendorek, who is becoming an increasingly important figure in Number 10, will also be there to provide continuity.
Squire was picked for the CCHQ job by Craig Oliver, the Prime Minister’s director of communications who is already beginning to turn his attention to assembling a Tory communications team for the 2015 campaign. He admired the way in which she carried home the coalition message on welfare and has been pivotal in her moving into Number 10.