LONDON—Veteran Treasury official Michael Ellam, an aide to Chancellor Gordon Brown since he took the role in 1997, is to be head of communications in Downing Street when Brown takes over as Prime Minister later this month. Meanwhile, Brown’s expected challenger for the job at the next election, Conservative Party leader David Cameron, has named former tabloid editor Andy Coulson as the party’s new director of communications.
During a decade at the Treasury, Ellam served as head of communications and strategy for three years from 2000. In 2004, he was appointed as director of policy and planning, with responsibility for short to medium-term coordination of policy.
In his new role, he will handle daily press briefings for the Prime Minister, replacing Tom Kelly, who served in the same role under Tony Blair.
Coulson, meanwhile, joins the Conservative Party in a role that will involve day-to-day contact with editors and senior commentators as well as long-term strategy.
He left his job at the tabloid News of the World in January of this year after one of his reporters was jailed for plotting to intercept phone messages left for aides to the royal family. Earlier, he had served as editor of The Sun’s Bizarre gossip column.
According to Cameron, “Andy is a hugely experienced journalist…. [He] will make a formidable contribution as a senior member of my team in building the most effective strategy and operation to win the next general election.”