Back in the thick of it... Alastair Campbell returns to work as a spin doctor

Labour's master of media manipulation is back in the PR business

He has produced four volumes of diaries, become a prolific blogger, starred in a one-man show, appeared on the after-dinner speaking circuit, raised funds for charity and followed his beloved Burnley FC around the country.

But until yesterday, almost nine years after he quit as Tony Blair's director of communications, Alastair Campbell had resisted all overtures to accept permanent paid employment.

The legendary spinner – admired and vilified in equal measure at Westminster – has been headhunted as a consultant by the communications agency Portland, which was founded by his former Downing Street deputy, Tim Allan. In his new role Mr Campbell will advise a roster of clients that includes Tesco, McDonald's, Vodafone and Google. Portland has also provided PR advice to the government of Russia and Kazakhstan's dictatorship.

Mr Campbell will help companies with their long-term strategic communications, rather than their day-to-day public relations. And he will draw on his time in government by advising corporate clients on dealing with any crisis that could befall them.

He has been working part-time for the company for several months, but disclosed yesterday he had finally decided to take a permanent post after a "persistent" campaign by Mr Allan to bring him on board. "It was not something I ever thought, to be honest, that I would do," he said. "A great deal of nonsense is talked about spin. It is not just legitimate for businesses to consider strategic communications but essential. It can often be the difference between success and failure. It is also something where we have developed real expertise in this country."

Mr Campbell had originally intended to leave Downing Street in 2002 but was persuaded to stay on for another 12 months as the Iraq crisis turned into war.At the time of his resignation he suggested he was burnt out by the gruelling experience of being at Mr Blair's side for nine years – three in opposition and six in office.

He said: "In some jobs, and this is one of them, there is no such thing as a day off, or a night off, or a holiday without interruption. The pressures are real and intense, but in doing the job you learn to live with them. It is your family that pays a price."

After his departure, he channelled much of his prodigious energies into his diaries, The Blair Years. Mr Campbell has used his blog – and later Twitter – to opine regularly on politics and re-emerged to help with Labour's election campaigns in 2005 and 2010. A burgeoning broadcasting career has included a documentary on his battle with depression and appearances on Question Time, Top Gear and Jamie's Dream School.

As well as Mr Allan, he will be reunited at Portland with several familiar faces from Downing Street, including David Bradshaw, with whom he also worked on the Daily Mirror, Steve Morris and Martin Sheehan.

He will also become a colleague of a previous political foe, Michael Portillo, the former Tory cabinet minister. Mr Campbell said: "I'm not sure when I was in No 10 that I ever thought I would be working alongside Michael Portillo but then I think even Michael will admit he's changed his outlook more than I have."

Spin-offs: What the No 10 team did next

Lance Price

Then Media adviser, 1998-2000.

Now Author and commentator. Executive director of the Kaleidoscope Trust, which campaigns globally for gay rights.

Godric Smith

Then Official spokesman, 2001-06. Quietly spoken and self-effacing, steered Blair government through Hutton inquiry.

Now Overseeing the media relations operation for the London Olympics.

Tom Kelly

Then Official spokesman, 2001-07. Notoriously described the Government's weapons inspector Dr David Kelly as a "Walter Mitty" character in what he wrongly thought was an off-the-record chat with journalists. Had to apologise to Dr Kelly's widow amid demands for his resignation.

Now Director of communications at Network Rail.

David Hill

Then Director of communications, 2003-07. Veteran Labour figure, was also the party's director of communications from 1991-99.

Now Provides "high-level strategic counsel" for Bell Pottinger.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam