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Chris Lockwood to join new Number 10 policy unit

29 April 2013

Chris Lockwood

Chris Lockwood

Downing Street has pulled off a coup with the recruitment of Chris Lockwood, the US editor of The Economist, to the new Downing Street policy unit. Lockwood is one of the brightest and most insightful people in journalism and one imagines that he wouldn’t have left a prime perch at The Economist if he did not think that the new Policy Unit will have real heft.

Lockwood is close to Cameron: he was one of the six journalists that the Prime Minister listed as a personal friend in his evidence to Leveson. In 1993, as reported in the Elliott and Hanning biography of Cameron, Lockwood was part of a group that went on a villa holiday to Italy with Cameron and Samantha Sheffield, as she then was.

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His recruitment is a sign of how keen Cameron now is to staff this policy unit with people he can trust who are experienced operators (Lockwood first joined The Economist in 1984).

This was first reported in the Spectator’s Evening Blend email. For other exclusives and insight into the Westminster world, subscribe for free here.

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Show comments
  • Daniel Maris

    The thing I feel about the Tories is there is a complete detachment from reality.

    Same could be said about Labour and the Lib Dems to a lesser degree. UKIP are a mix of some realism and complete off the scale barking.

    It’s a bit of a shambles really. We seem to have travelled a long way from the post war period when politics made some sense, when people talked about welfare, about industry, about housing, about education in a meaningful way.

    I’d like to see a return to that focus: on the real economy, on real incomes, on our citizens’ welfare and income (not the overall GDP which is meaningless when we are being flooded with Chinese and Russian oligarchs).

    Forget gay marriage, funny finance, bogus choice.

  • alabenn

    The economist is held in as much regard as the FT.
    Blair will be over the moon as number ten is still in thrall to his peculiar brand of vacuity.

  • Davidh

    “brightest”, “most insightful”??? Didn’t The Economist think that the Euro was a brilliant idea?

    • Their lips are moving so….


      The Economist – Newspaper.
      Chris Lockwood – person

      Er, not the same. To presume that every journalist agrees with everything that their employee publishes is ludicrous.

      • Tom Tom

        He was the Editor US who pushed the paper towards backing Obama

      • Abhay

        It is not so ludicrous.

        The Economist, as any regular reader will tell you, is a boring establishment magazine. It’s also quite preachy and usually found to be wise after the event.

        In such places, I can hazard a guess, your career will not survive if you are found not to be in agreement on major points.

    • Their lips are moving so….

      delete employee, insert employer

      • Davidh

        Well, The Economist doesn’t usually credit articles to particular journalists. It’s one of the things that really used to bug me when reading it. And they do have a very particular editorial line that they push. So you might assume that their journalists, particularly a “prime perch” editor, were generally sympathetic to that editorial line. But I could be wrong. The man could theoretically be a raving protectionist Euro-sceptic and still have been an editor at The Economist…

    • Tom Tom

      This guy Lockwood backed Obama

  • Noa

    Presumably the Downing Street Policy Unit’s members, whilst supposedly working to the advantage of David Cameron and advancing his carer plan, are actually paid by we taxpayers to do so.
    That being so, does anyone know the package Mr Lockwood will be receiving for dispensing his genius on Dave’s, or is it our, behalf?

  • Daniel Maris

    Well he don’t inspire no confidence, that’s for sure. :)

  • Smithersjones2013

    Cameron is circling the wagons and bringing all his elitist pals close to him. Clearly he is expecting trouble from all corners in the months to come.

    Sounds even more like Thursday ‘is going to be a terrible night for the Tories’.

    Cameron will win nothing with his nepotistic clique.except yet more contempt from the ordinary voter.

    • the viceroy’s gin


      This is about the worst possible thing Dave could have done, image wise, when it comes to ordinary voters. Signing up a journalist hack as a key man? And he’s having his Speccie lickspittle plaster it up as some sort of a positive move. Stunningly obtuse idea.

      For a guy who allegedly understands PR, Dave knows precious little about it.

      • Archimedes

        Oh please. You guys talk about ordinary voters as if they give a damn about who is running the policy unit. If any ordinary voters read about it, they’ll no doubt be struck by the fact that Boris has a brother — and he’s in parliament.

        • Tom Tom

          and went to Eton and his sister edits some Hello magazine lookalike

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Excellent choice.

    All of those rearranged deck chairs on the RMS Cameroon do need occupants, afterall.

    Fill them all up with journalists, I say.

    Or lawyers.

    We want nary an empty chair when the Cameroonian lookouts sing out with “Iceberg dead ahead!”

  • Archimedes

    I have yet to hear of an appointment to No. 10 that you did not describe as a coup of some sort, James.

  • Freebornbriton

    A very good choice by the PM. The UKIP mob are never happy.

    I’m voting Tory.

    • HookesLaw

      Stop paying compliments to mobs.

    • Makroon

      I shall also probably vote Tory, but only for self (and family) preservation.
      Cameron seems to be deliberately excluding those back-benchers with real, working, life experience. I have lived in several countries ruled by cronyism, it is the most insidious and destructive form of corruption.

  • alexsandr

    cant see him having much to do. doesn’t a policy unit need policies?

  • Rockin Ron

    “….Lockwood is one of the brightest and most insightful people in journalism” – not a guarantee of any quality at all! Cameron has a rotten record in selecting people so this appointment will probably be rubbish as well.

    • Tom Tom

      So there was a vacancy and James didn’t get it ! You tried so hard too, but you only went to Winchester

      • Boulay

        What a strange comment “only went to Winchester” when comparing to someone who went to St. Paul’s….. Considering winchester is considered the hardest of the public schools to get into by most prep school heads and has a greater % Oxbridge rate than either St. Paul’s or Eton it is a pretty silly fact even before you take in issues such as the history, facilities etc that knock St. Paul’s into a cocked hat…..

        • Tom Tom

          Congratulations you found a bear trap and jumped right in !

        • Makroon

          It is the ultimate sign of mediocrity. to keep wittering on about the “old school” and “when I was at Oxbridge” decades after the event.
          Evidently zero achievement since school then ?

    • Makroon

      Just what I was thinking. Only another journo could see that as some sort of compliment. Whatever the future holds, Cameron is ensuring that the grip of his type of Tory in the Conservative party, will be permanently ended by his regime of cronies.

  • judyk113

    Alternatively, a sign of how keen Cameron is to ensure that all the people around him are the sort of people he went on holiday with and who hung out with the minor aristocracy. And The Economist has the knack of being able to put things over to the ordinary people in the street, does it? Good luck with that. I wouldn’t mind, but the price of failure for Cameron is either having Miliband as Prime Minister for five years or having Miliband in coalition with Clegg for five years in return for proportional representation which will ensure that the LibDems will always be in government. Really a great coup, there.

    • HookesLaw

      Alernatively you are obtuse

      • Smithersjones2013

        Make way for the Toxic Tory Militant Tendency…..

  • AnotherDaveB

    An alternative view:

    “Cameron hires another crony. A mate from the Economist who he holidays with is joining the policy unit. He might be brilliant but it stinks”

  • Youbian

    Oh wow the best brains in Britain all happen to be Cameron’s friends. Is he an old Etonian as well. And the other 60 million of us? No one up to the job? And they wonder why we think they are out of touch…

    • telemachus

      “The bright side, for those worried about this sort of thing, is that Lockwood is not an Old Etonian. The less bright side, for the same lot, is that he was educated at St Paul’s.”

    • Tom Tom

      Puffy Cameron surrounds himself with nonentities and then they prove themselves to be such

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