A top adviser at London City Hall is set to take a huge pay cut to come and work for Jeremy Corbyn. Neale Coleman is to quit his £148,000 Olympic legacy tsar post — carrying a salary nearly £5,000 more than the prime minister — to become the Labour leader’s ‘director of policy and rebuttal’.
The 61 year-old is doubtless familiar to Corbyn chief of staff Simon Fletcher, The pair worked closely together during Ken Livingstone’s mayoralty — with Coleman then kept on by Boris Johnson.
The combination of Neale Coleman and Simon Fletcher is very strong. Corbyn has appointed two of the best political brains. Fascinating …
— PeterBingle (@PeterBingle) September 16, 2015
The news of Corbyn’s first major appointment as Labour leader comes as panicky opposition advisers brief the press that such roles are to be axed, with shadow cabinet ministers being denied a dedicated personal aide.
— Beth Rigby (@BethRigby) September 16, 2015
Whether or not a centralised team is introduced to support the front bench as a whole, Labour spinner and wonk appointments could still face veto by Coleman as director of policy — as they did under his Miliband-era predecessor, Torsten ‘Ed Stone’ Bell.
Coleman is certainly well placed to handle one of this week’s thorniest issues: republican Corbyn’s appointment to Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.
Having himself been appointed a CBE for his work on the Olympics, perhaps he can give his new boss some tips on kneeling before royalty.