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Government to advertise for head of communications

LONDON - The Labour government is further distancing itself from spin with the appointment of a new head of communications to advise Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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According to a report in the Financial Times, the position will be advertised this weekend, promising an "attractive six-figure salary" for the post of permanent secretary in charge of government communications, based in the Cabinet Office.

The shake-up in the prime minister's PR team comes following the resignation of Alastair Campbell, who was widely portrayed as having vast influence over Blair. Labour is determined to rid itself of its reputation for being a government that runs on spin.

Three people will now look after Campbell's responsibilities. David Hill, who led Labour Party media relations during the 1997 general election, has been made director of communications; the new permanent secretary and their deputy.

The Tory party has also reorganised its communications since Michael Howard became opposition leader, appointing the Press Complaints Commission's Guy Black to head media operations, and with Maurice Saatchi taking up the role of co-chairman.

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