Whitehall contract for PM's adviser
Philip Gould, Tony Blair's polling adviser and a close ally of the Prime Minister, has been retained by the Foreign Office to survey public attitudes towards the European Union.
The hiring of Mr Gould will raise eyebrows at Westminster where he is viewed as being a member of the Prime Minister's inner circle and one of the architects of Labour's modernisation programme. He is also a trusted ally of Peter Mandelson, the Minister Without Portfolio and key Labour strategist.
The pounds 30,000 contract was awarded by the Foreign Office to Mr Gould's new "strategic research" agency. After leaving Millbank Tower, the Labour campaign centre, at the end of the landslide campaign last May, he formed, in September, the new firm with two leading US political advisers, James Carville and Stan Greenberg. Called Gould Greenberg Carville NOP, their agency is one-quarter owned by NOP, the polling organisation, and has a small office inside the Express newspaper building at Blackfriars, central London. NOP is part of MAI, the media group headed by Lord Hollick, the Express newspaper proprietor and another close friend of Mr Blair.
Mr Gould's two partners also have strong Labour connections. Credited with winning the presidency for Bill Clinton, they both assisted Labour in the British election battle.
They met Mr Gould when he was drafted in to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1992 to advise the Clinton campaign on how to fight Republican attacks copied from the British Conservatives. Mr Greenberg flew from the US to be part of the Millbank Tower team during the campaign while Mr Carville gave advice to Labour by telephone.
Like Mr Gould in Britain, Mr Greenberg, a left-wing academic turned pollster, was one of the architects of the "modernisation" of the US Democratic Party. The tough-talking Mr Carville was the hero of Mr Clinton's 1992 campaign and the driving force behind the Little Rock "war room", portrayed in the best-selling novel, Primary Colors.
The new company promotes itself as a "strategic research consultancy" and sets out its mission as "to work for reformist, modernising and inclusive institutions seeking to adapt to a new era of change".
Mr Gould's firm has taken over all opinion research for the Labour Party from NOP. It was a poll for his new company which found that 94 per cent of people thought Mr Blair was doing a good job as Prime Minister. The Foreign Office contract is its first from the Government.
Married to Gail Rebuck, head of the British arm of Random House, the publisher, and herself a member of Labour's inner circle, Mr Gould's role in the election was to tell Mr Blair what the public thought. He is a great believer in the use of focus groups - informal discussions with small groups of floating voters - which he always conducts himself.
A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed Mr Gould's appointment. "The objective is to provide a snapshot in the UK to the EU and EU issues in advance of the UK presidency [of the EU]," said the spokesman. He said it was necessary as "public opinion is important in a modern democracy". He stressed that Mr Gould's bid was chosen on its merits.
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
London property boom built on dirty money
Becky Watts: Stepbrother and his girlfriend named locally as two arrested on suspicion of murder
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...
£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...
£30000 - £35379 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is based in Welwyn ...
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...