Cameron spin doctor arrested in train fracas

Strategy guru Steve Hilton given fine after police were called into row over ticket

One of David Cameron's closest advisers was arrested after he disputed a train ticket, the Conservative Party admitted last night.

Steve Hilton, who as the Tory leader's head of strategy has been key to attempts to change the Conservatives' "nasty party" image – and who will be set for a central job in Downing Street if the party wins power – was fined for disorder after a confrontation with station staff in 2008.

Mr Hilton is thought to have been running to catch a train to London on the way home from the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham. According to Channel 4 News, an argument with staff at Birmingham New Street station erupted when he failed to show his ticket quickly enough. Police were then called.

He is said to have sworn, shouting "wanker", after which he was arrested and taken to Birmingham New Street police station. After apologising, he was de-arrested and issued with an £80 penalty notice for disorder.

"I can confirm that shortly before 5pm on Wednesday 1 October 2008, a 39-year-old man from London was arrested at Birmingham New Street railway station after a dispute over the production of his ticket," a spokesman for British Transport Police told Channel 4 News. "Once the man had calmed down, he was issued with a penalty notice for disorder under section 5 of the Public Order Act."

Questions will be asked about how and why news of Mr Hilton's arrest should be made public now.

The strategy guru, thought to be on a £200,000 salary, has attracted controversy recently after irritating some Tory MPs by bombarding them with emails discussing how they should be carrying out their roles. His "strategy bulletins", which are sent to some frontbench MPs, are said to have caused annoyance among some of Mr Cameron's top team. Some forwarded the bulletins to newspapers.

The emails often contain praise of "cool" projects hatched in the United States. One stated: "Here are some great examples of how harnessing the insights of behavioral economics and social psychology can help you to achieve your policy goals in a more effective and light-touch way."

Another, Strategy Bulletin No 2, sent on 23 October, asked bewildered MPs to keep an eye on "some cool stuff they're doing in San Francisco". The note added: "Transparency is a central component of our political approach. Along with decentralisation and accountability, it's one of the building blocks of the post-bureaucratic age." His reputation for promoting cutting-edge public relations techniques and using indecipherable jargon has become so well known that he inspired a character in the BBC's political satire, The Thick of It. The revelation of his arrest will come as an embarrassment to Mr Cameron, who had hoped to put the controversy over Mr Hilton's influence behind him.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings