Durham graduate appointed as Rishi Sunak’s Director of Communications

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Prime Minister Rishi has appointed Durham University graduate and former head of UK News at ITV Amber de Botton to be his new Director of Communications.

Her new role will include running Downing Street’s media operations, and is she expected to act as the face of Number 10 by briefing journalists and managing crises. She will also become a special advisor to the new Prime Minister, where she can offer her own political advice. 

De Botton graduated from Durham in 2007 with a degree in History and Politics. She has since pursued a successful career in journalism, having previously been the Political Editor at Total Politics, Deputy Head of Politics at Sky News and most recently being at ITV News Head of Politics and then Head of UK News at ITV. 

She was among the team at ITV that worked on an exclusive story about the Partygate scandal last year, after ITV journalists obtained footage of a mock press conference where former ex-Director of Communications Allegra Stratton joked about a “fictional party” taking place at Downing Street. 

Stretton resigned from her role the day after the story was released putting then Prime Minister Boris Johnson under renewed pressure, while the Partygate expose won Story of the Year at the prestigious Drum Awards.  

“She’s a seriously talented news editor & political operator”

Beth Rigby

Her former colleagues at ITV celebrated the news, with Political Editor Robert Peston posting on Twitter: “My colleague Amber de Botton is leaving ITV to be @RishiSunak’s director of communications. She is a brilliant news editor and journalist, and leaves a huge hole at @itvnews.”

This message was echoed by Sky News’ Political Editor Beth Rigby who tweeted: “Many years ago @amberdebotton got me into TV news @skynews. It was a huge loss to Sky’s political unit when she joined ITV News.

“She’s a seriously talented news editor & political operator, now heading to no 10 to direct PM’s communications strategy. They mean business.”

On her LinkedIn profile, de Botton describes herself as an “experienced senior journalist with a demonstrated history of working in broadcast media, who is “skilled in breaking news, media relations, government relations, corporate communications, team management and print.”

While de Botton’s salary has not been made public, previous Directors of Communications have been paid anywhere between £80,000 (the minimum salary of Adam Jones who was Liz Truss’s Director of Communications) and £144,999 (the maximum annual salary of Guto Harri, Director of Communications under Boris Johnson). 

This will not be the first time Sunak has appointed an ITV journalist to work for his communications team. As Chancellor, Sunak appointed Allegra Stratton to be his Director of Strategic Communications, before she was chosen to be then Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson in 2020.

Image: Amber de Botton via LinkedIn

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