It is right that political advisers are paid out of public funds

Advisers such as Dominic Cummings play an important role in our democracy

John Rentoul
Saturday 21 December 2019 21:11 GMT
Money well spent? Circa £99,000 buys you one Dominic Cummings
Money well spent? Circa £99,000 buys you one Dominic Cummings (Reuters)

Remember those terrible special advisers who were politicising the civil service under New Labour? How the Conservatives laid into them for their crimes of “spin” and wasting public money?

Well, one of my pre-Christmas rituals is to celebrate the publication of the official list of special advisers and their salaries and to revel in past Tory hypocrisy. This year’s, published on Friday, was a particularly joyous occasion for a sectarian Blairite. Once upon a time, David Cameron promised to cut their numbers to “cut the cost of politics”. It was a shortsighted and opportunist pledge, soon broken.

There are now, we learned, 108 special advisers in the government, up from 99 last year. Not only that, but this is one more than the previous peak of 107, reached at the end of the coalition government in 2015.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in