Downing Street Chief of Staff ends lobbying firm payment arrangement

Critics described the arrangement as “unusual”, with Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner saying that it raised “serious questions about the new prime minister's judgement"

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Downing Street Chief of Staff Mark Fullbrook has tonight decided to end his controversial employment arrangement, whereby his salary was paid not on Downing Street’s payroll, but was instead paid to him by his own lobbying firm, GB News understands.

Instead, his top advisor salary will now be put directly on the government payroll.

Critics described the arrangement as “unusual”, with Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner saying that it raised “serious questions about the new prime minister's judgement.”

Fullbrook, who had come under increasing scrutiny since the story broke over the weekend has decided to move to a traditional payroll form of employment in order to not let speculation distract from the work of government, according to a source close to the arrangement.

His top advisor salary will now be put directly on the government payroll.
His top advisor salary will now be put directly on the government payroll.

It is not clear why Fullbrook was under the unusual arrangement of his own lobbying firm, Fullbrook Strategies delivering his salary while on secondment to Number 10, although spokesman for the Downing Street Chief of Staff had said that he derives no tax benefits from it.

The arrangement, which had been cleared by the government’s propriety and ethics team and still ensured that Fullbrook is a temporary civil servant subject to the Code of Conduct of Special Advisers in the same way as directly employed aides, had not gone away as a story. Questions swirled even as the government felt compelled to respond to market instability with news it will publish its Medium-Term Fiscal Plan on 23 November, accompanied by an independent forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility which has now been commissioned for the same date.

While tonight’s move will no doubt cauterise some distraction for the government, questions will remain as to why this arrangement was arrived at in the first place.

Responding to GB News, a Number 10 spokesperson told the channel that “while there are established arrangements for employees to join government on secondment, to avoid any ongoing speculation, Mark Fullbrook will be employed directly by the government on a special adviser contract.“

“All government employees, including those joining on secondment, are subject to necessary checks and vetting, and all special advisers declare their interests in line with Cabinet Office guidance.”