Cameron’s taxpayer-funded personal photographer. MP writes to Sir Gus O’Donnell for answers

David Cameron has got his priorities right. At a time of national hardship, with the public purse squeezed until the pips beg for mercy, where does our PM elect to splash the cash?

Save a nurse? Reprieve a teacher? Keep a copper?

No. According to yesterday’s Mirror he has decided to bring his personal photographer onto the government payroll. Andrew Parsons, the snapper who gave us the tasteful, moving and entirely non-exploitative photos of Cam in the Westminster poppy garden, will henceforth being receiving his cheque direct from the exchequer.

Across the land, grateful Brits are breathing sighs of relief.

“I may be about to lose my child benefit, but at least the relaxed yet intimate portrait of David and Samantha preparing their Sunday roast is safe”, said one.

“My son in Afghanistan may not get a proper flak jacket. But the black and white shots of the prime minister looking statesmanlike while on the phone to the finance minister of Burundi will be a morale booster”, said another.

The good news doesn’t end there. According to Downing Street, Mr Parsons, “will work for the cabinet office, not just the PM”. The current minister for the cabinet office is Francis Maude.  OK! and Hello! wait with bated breath.

Tom Watson MP has written to the cabinet secretary, Sir Gus O’ Donnell, for answers.

(If you can’t see the viewer below, the plain text version is here)

Letter to Sir Gus O’Donnell

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2 Responses to “Cameron’s taxpayer-funded personal photographer. MP writes to Sir Gus O’Donnell for answers”

  1. deano453 says:

    “I won’t be going to uni anymore but the picture of dave pretending to talk to Obama on the phone is probably better anyway”

  2. The Cabinet Office already has a photographer on the Civil Service payroll, I met him at some event last year.

    Plus Andrew Parsons is just one of many, many “hidden spads” who were moved from the Tory payroll into the Civil Service in spite of the much-trumpted public sector recruitment freeze. See also Rishi Saha (Conservative head of digital who became deputy director of digital comms for the Cabinet Office and No 10 without the job ever being advertised), Chloe Dalton (former Hague staffer, now a Civil Service speechwriter in the FCO despite the job never being advertised), Sam Freedman (Michael Gove adviser in opposition, now Secretary of State for Education’s policy adviser, despite the job never being advertised) and Joanna Penn (Tory adviser on work and pensions who just happened to land herself a civil service job as “policy adviser” to the Home Secretary despite the job never being advertised.

    None of these individuals appear in the recently published list of special advisers and their pay, despite every single one of them being a political appointment.

    If they want to pack Whitehall with Spads then good luck to them, but Cameron should at least be honest about it instead of hiding behind the lie that they have cut spad numbers and increased transparency. There is nothing transparent about the process by which Parsons, Saha, Dalton, Freedman and Penn were appointed.

    These are just the ones I know about – I’m sure there are plenty of others lurking in dark corners. Perhaps a mass FoI request asking for details of everyone appointed to the Civil Service since the “recruitment freeze” would shed some light on this?

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