Tony Blair's first day: Young academic given key role of developing policy for leader: Donald Macintyre looks at the fresh talent hired to help Labour's advance

TONY BLAIR, the new Labour leader, has appointed David Miliband, a 30- year-old academic with an outstanding record, to be in charge of policy within his private office.

The hiring of Mr Miliband, research fellow at the left-of-centre Institute for Public Policy Research, is one of several key changes to the Leader's Office to be finalised between now and the autumn. Party sources emphasised last night that the staffing of his office would blend a mixture of 'change and continuity'.

Mr Miliband went to school at Haverstock comprehensive in north London, and took a first in Philosphy, Politics and Economics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He took a Master's Degree in Political Economy and Public Policy as a Kennedy scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is Secretary of the Social Justice Commission, charged with the key task of proposing reforms of welfare policy. His appointment is further evidence of the youth of some of the key people around Mr Blair.

Mr Miliband, son of the distinguished socialist intellectual and writer Ralph Miliband, is a regular footballer and cricketer and a governor of Carlton Primary School in London. His brother, Ed, already works for Harriet Harman, shadow Chief Secretary. His appointment will also strengthen the links between Mr Blair's office and the Social Justice Commission, which will be crucial in the drafting of tax and benefits policy in the run-up to the next election.

Mr Miliband will be one of four key figures around whom Mr Blair's private office will be built. Senior Labour sources stressed last night that Mr Blair abhorred 'cliques' and the private office would combine professionalism with 'openness' to the party at large.

The other three key figures are Anji Hunter, Mr Blair's long-standing personal assistant, and a friend since Mr Blair was at Oxford, who will be in charge of the day-to-day running of Mr Blair's personal office. Murray Elder, the former general secretary of the Labour Party until John Smith brought him to London as his chief of staff, will remain in the leader's office with primary responsibility for liaison with the national party organisation.

The fourth figure will be responsible for press relations; no decision has yet been taken on the appointment or whether it will be a figure from outside the present structure. But sources emphasised yesterday that whoever filled the post would not prejudice the role of David Hill, the party's chief media spokesperson.

Staffing in other parts of the office remains to be decided. Among possible candidates to join his office are Tim Allan, a young Cambridge graduate and former Blair researcher who returned from ITV's A Week in Politics to work as Mr Blair's press officer during the leadership campaign.

Another potential entrant could be Peter Hyman, a capable young researcher who was seconded to the Blair campaign from the office of Donald Dewar, shadow Secretary of State for Social Security.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Recruitment Genius: Invoicing Clerk

£14500 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are contractors to...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy