Sebastian Payne

Nigel Farage rejigs his team and hires Michael Heaver as press aide

Nigel Farage has made made some changes to his core team. After the Ukip wars, his senior aide Raheem Kassam left the party and has been replaced by Michael Heaver. From today, he will be dealing with media queries for the leader’s office and running his social media accounts. Heaver previously worked in the party’s press office, before standing as an MEP last year and subsequently running Tim Aker’s campaign in Thurrock. I interviewed him last year about what it’s like to be a young kipper.

Heaver however will not be taking over all of Kassam’s responsibilities. Chris Bruni-Lowe, who was Head of Campaigns during the election campaign, will continue to work on the party’s strategy, while taking on the additional responsibilities for Farage’s political operation. His main task will be to navigate Farage’s role in the EU referendum and how Ukip can work with other groups who will form the Brexit campaign.

I also understand that Gawain Towler, Ukip’s press spokesman, will be running the party’s media operation after Paul Lambert was sacked after the election. Towler is well liked in Westminster for his cheery demeanour when under fire and respected inside the party for his long service. The divide between the leader’s office and the press office was responsible for many of the briefing wars before and after the election campaign. Towler, Bruni-Lowe and Heaver will be keen to move on from this era and harness the party’s new supporters ahead of the referendum.

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