Today’s Sunday Times reveals that David Cameron’s top adviser Steve Hilton is receiving the equivalent of £276,000pa from Tory funds:
"The marketing genius behind David Cameron is being paid £23,000 a
month by the party, the equivalent of a salary of £276,000 a year.
Steve Hilton, a former employee of the advertising agency Saatchi &
Saatchi, is an old friend of the Tory leader and gets a monthly fee as
a consultant to the party. However, party insiders insisted last night
that the arrangement was “transitional” while he was freeing himself of
his business interests and that he would soon be joining the regular
The Observer also has the story:
"Details of the payments to Hilton make him the highest paid adviser in
the history of the Conservative Party, earning £150,000 more than
Cameron himself and almost £100,000 more than the Prime Minister. Even
when Alastair Campbell, the former Number 10 Head of Strategic
Communications, was at his peak of his influence, he earned £131,000."
Mr Hilton has a long track record of working for the Conservative Party. He is romantically involved with Rachel Whetstone, Michael Howard’s former political secretary, and he devised the Demon Eyes negative advertising for the 1997 campaign. Eyes will be flashing green – rather than red – as co-workers learn of his remuneration package. All will undoubtedly be forgiven, however, if Mr Hilton helps to put David Cameron in Downing Street.
The Conservative Party has a track record of paying large sums to key advisers. Michael Howard is thought to have paid Australian Lynton Crosby £250,000 for directing his 2005 election campaign. The 2005 campaign was tarnished by a row over the fees paid to a firm owned by Lord Saatchi, then Tory Chairman.