Today brings yet another sign that CCHQ is gearing up for the long election campaign. After yesterday’s news that the party has chosen the forty seats it intends to target at the next election, I now hear that talent is being moved out of Whitehall and back to Millbank to beef up the team there. Giles Kenningham, one of the most effective Tory spin doctors, is taking leave from the Department of Communities and Local Government, to head up CCHQ’s media operation following Susie Squire’s secondment to Downing Street.
Kenningham joined the Tories from ITV in 2007. In the 2010 election, he was one of the two Tories who took charge of responding to Labour’s daily press conference. At DCLG, Kenningham has taken a proactive approach. He’s enforced transparency on departmental and local government spending and been unafraid to call out wasteful councils and fat cat bureaucrats of all stripes.
The fast-talking Kenningham will bring some real bite to the Tory press team. His move is another sign that Craig Oliver, Cameron’s communications chief, is already turning his mind to how to craft a communications operation for the next election that can cover print, new media and broadcast.