No. 10 hires Mail’s political correspondent

Ben Brogan reports:

Gordon Brown does not know his luck. In these tough times, when the exits are crowded with those fighting to get out before next year’s great reckoning, you would not expect to find volunteers willing to join the Downing Street operation. But Mr Brown has, in the shape of Michael Lea, who has resigned as Daily Mail political correspondent to take on a new role as chief writer to the Prime Minister.

I declare an interest, in that until a few weeks ago I was his boss. But I confess I was startled when I heard this. Michael is an astute and talented reporter who had a successful career at the Sun before joining the Mail. He’s decided it’s time to try something different and has accepted a civil service role inside the strategic communications unit. He won’t be doing any media, and before you ask, the process was in train before Damian McBride imploded. Michael’s job will be to polish Mr Brown’s prose, a heart-sinking task if there ever was one.

Michael has already heard the jokes about rats and ships, and will be all too aware that this could be a fairly short enlistment (although as a civil servant there is no reason why he should not continue if the Tories get in). What stays with me is the surprise that Mr Brown can still find people willing to enter the bunker.

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