Journalist Amber de Botton takes special adviser role for new prime minister
Rishi Sunak has hired Amber de Botton as his director of communications, Downing Street confirmed on Saturday, in the latest in a series of appointments made by the prime minister in his first week in office.
De Botton’s career as a journalist has included working for ITV News and Sky News. She leaves ITV News, where she was head of UK news and previously politics.
Unlike an impartial civil servant, the special adviser will be able to give political advice to ministers, defend the government’s actions and criticise opposition parties.
ITV’s political editor, Robert Peston, tweeted: “My colleague Amber de Botton is leaving ITV to be Rishi Sunak’s director of communications. She is a brilliant news editor and journalist, and leaves a huge hole at ITV News.”
The Sky News political editor, Beth Rigby, wrote: “She’s a seriously talented news editor and political operator, now heading to No 10 to direct PM’s communications strategy. They mean business.”
The appointment is the latest made by Sunak, who became prime minister on Monday after a leadership vote.
Sunak has brought Suella Braverman, Dominic Raab and Michael Gove back into his cabinet, while keeping Jeremy Hunt on as chancellor.
James Cleverly was reappointed as foreign secretary and Braverman was reappointed as home secretary less than a week after quitting for breaching the ministerial code by sending classified documents from her personal email.
Penny Mordaunt, Sunak’s two-time leadership rival, will be keeping her job as Commons leader while Raab has been appointed deputy prime minister and justice secretary.
Gove has been given his old job of levelling up secretary, three months after being sacked by Boris Johnson.
Others in his cabinet include Grant Shapps, Gillian Keegan, Steve Barclay, Kemi Badenoch and Thérèse Coffey, who is now the environment secretary.
Previously, Sunak appointed ITV News’s former national editor, Allegra Stratton, as his director of strategic communications in 2020 when he was chancellor, before she was poached a few months later to become Johnson’s spokesperson for televised briefings.
It was ITV that obtained a video of Stratton joking about a “fictional party” at a mock press conference staged days after an allegedly rule-breaching Christmas party at No 10. She resigned a day later.
Removal vans were seen on Saturday taking belongings into Downing Street, with Sunak due to move in above No 10.
Vans from the company Bishop’s Move – which specialises in removals, storage and shipping – were on the street, with staff pictured carrying a mattress through the famous black door of No 10.
Sunak and his family were due to return to the flat they lived in when he was chancellor several months after moving out, his press secretary said earlier this week.
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Downing Street has been contacted for comment.