Fraser Nelson

Departures and arrivals on Downing Street

Departures and arrivals on Downing Street
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Yet another one of Gordon Brown's 'octet' - the eight advisers named in The Spectator three years ago - is moving on. Michael Ellam is finally on his way back to HM Treasury and I wonder why. Has he just got fed up, like Tom Watson? Or is he being sent to HMT as Brown's enforcer, to make sure it doesn't put up a fight when No10 instructs it to spew out more dodgy figures? After all, the newly confident Alistair Darling is up for telling hard truths, and that's something No10 won't appreciate.

But I suspect that, finally, Ellam is no longer in the mood for No10. He always was an unlikely praetorian. As a civil servant he used to work for Ken Clarke, and under Brown specialised in economics. His move to the be HMT press chief was itself unusual. But Ellam had Brown's confidence, so was evacuated to No10 where he sat next to Damian McBride in the first 18 months. I was never invited to those karaoke nights out that McBride would hold, though I'm told that Ellam would tag along reluctantly and that once, when almost everyone had passed out or gone home, he chose "Gordon is a Moron" for his song and delivered the chorus with gusto.

His move to the Treasury is unlikely to be a career decision: someone who was such an integral part to Gordon Brown's personal attack machine is unlikely to prosper under a Tory government. He has moved to make way for the latest poor soul paid to do up Brown's image - Simon Lewis, ex-Buckingham Palace spokesman and brother of Will Lewis, editor of The Telegraph.  I do hope Lewis has a drink with Stephen Carter soonish, to find out just how easily Brown warms to outsiders. The product is unsellable and immutable - as I suspect Ellam knew from the start. And as for Ellam, my career advice to him is simple: memoirs. Somebody's got to.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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