Adviser forced out over spin may find new job

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Indy Politics

Martin Sixsmith, the Department of Transport media adviser forced out last week by Downing Street amid a vicious feud over spin, may move to another Whitehall job.

Mr Sixsmith, who was expected to be negotiating a £60,000 pay-off, went to see Sir Richard Mottram, the most senior civil servant in the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) on Tuesday. They discussed the possibility of a position in another department, and talks are continuing.

The development throws into confusion the events of last week, when Stephen Byers announced that both Mr Sixsmith and Jo Moore, the controversial special adviser who urged colleagues to "bury" bad news, had quit. Neither Downing Street nor the DTLR made any suggestion that Mr Sixsmith would find another job in government. But it is thought he did not resign in writing, and Whitehall insiders emphasised he had quit the department, not necessarily the civil service.

An official at the DTLR said: "As far as I know there is nothing to add to Mr Byers' statement on Friday. Any other issues are a matter between the individual and the department."

* Charles Clarke, the Labour Party chairman, stepped into the Mittal affair yesterday with a staunch defence of the party's millionaire donors.

He said big backers such as the Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal did not offer their cash to buy government policies, politicians or honours, but "because they believe in politics and in the party they support".

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