Scottish Political Insider – Friday 13 July 2018

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 13 July 2018

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 13 July 2018

Harold Wilson famously said that a week was a long time in politics, and we can seldom remember a start to the Holyrood recess where UK politics continued at such roller-coaster pace that most news items were out of date as soon as they were written.

So Boris is gone, taking with him David Davis and various junior ministers and committee chairs.  Theresa May continues to battle on with every other party (and half her own) practically dancing on her political grave as she tries valiantly to avoid a second, snap election or a leadership crisis.   This latter option is looking increasingly likely with Sajiv Javid and Jeremy Hunt being talked about as likely runners.   All this and Donald Trump coming to Scotland this weekend.  So much for the quiet summer…

Holyrood has started its summer recess, of course.  Normal business resumes on 4 September which means no debates, with written questions and motions published just once a week.  We thought this would be a good opportunity to review the current list and range of responsibilities of Special Advisers many of whom, some would say, run government policy.

The SPAD list has been updated following last week’s Ministerial reshuffle.  There are no new additions (yet) and former MP Callum McCaig has had planning added to his remit. Kate Higgins’s title no longer includes ‘early years, further and higher education’.

Liz LloydChief of Staff to the First Minister

First Minister’s Strategic Programme in Government including inter-governmental relations

Co-ordination of the Special Adviser team

Stuart NicolsonHead of Communications

Senior Political Spokesperson for the First Minister

Strategic communications

Colin McAllisterHead of Policy Programme for Government

Programme for Government

First Minister’s Questions

Senior Special Adviser to the Deputy First Minister


John MacInnesSpecial Adviser

Political Research

Support for First Minister’s Questions and parliamentary debates

Support to Communications and Policy Special Advisers

Davie HutchisonSpecial Adviser

Health & Sport and Broadcasting

First Minister’s Questions

John McFarlaneSpecial Adviser

Justice and Transport

Parliamentary Business and Parliamentary liaison

Jeanette CampbellSpecial Adviser

Communities, Social Security, and Equalities (apart from Local Government & Planning)

Kate HigginsSpecial Adviser

Rural Economy & Connectivity

Katy BowmanSpecial Adviser

Culture, Tourism & External Affairs

Policy support to the Chief of Staff

Support for the First Minister and the First Minister’s Private Office

Outreach and stakeholder engagement

Ross IngebrigtsenDeputy Political Spokesperson for the First Minister

Strategic communications planning

David MillerSpecial Adviser

Energy, Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform

Ewan CrawfordSenior Special Adviser

Europe and Constitutional issues

Government Strategy

Stewart MaxwellSpecial Adviser

Business, the Economy, Skills & Fair Work

Business and Economy outreach

Callum McCaigSpecial Adviser

Finance and Local Government & Planning

And finally … We are looking forward to the charity dinner with Michelle Obama next week. Several senior politicians and celebrities are expected to attend, but two special guests are 14 year old girls, Melissa Croft, 14, of Mearns Castle High School in East Renfrewshire and Cerys Gough, 14, of Langholm Academy in Dumfries and Galloway. Both won a competition to share their recommendations if they ruled Scotland.  Cerys’ video focused on bullying and prejudice, while Melissa’s film was about child poverty in Scotland.


If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch withJulie McLauchlan on 07734 932578 or

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