Liz Truss hires Boris Johnson’s official videographer
Liz Truss has recruited Boris Johnson’s official videographer to accompany her on overseas trips and review her digital presence, The Telegraph can reveal.
The Cabinet Minister has hired Downing Street’s Robert Midgley as a digital media adviser, which will add to growing speculation about the Foreign Secretary’s leadership ambitions.
A Foreign Office source said Mr Midgley, a civil servant who was No 10’s first in-house videographer, would advise Ms Truss and civil servants on digital media and “help raise the level and quality of the production of the department”. Ms Truss wants to boost the use of “digital diplomacy”, including through videos posted to Twitter and Instagram, according to the source, who suggested the new role was the digital equivalent of her official press officer.
The appointment comes after Ms Truss recruited Reuben Solomon, a former Conservative Party digital chief, as a special adviser, taking her team of political staff to seven. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, who is seen as another favorite for succeeding Boris Johnson, hired creative agency co-founder Cass Horowitz as a digital guru on his policy team in February 2020.
Behind the addresses of national television
Mr Midgley, who will remain a civil servant, was also behind the Prime Minister’s nationwide televised speeches during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The disclosure comes after Ms Truss, who replaced Dominic Raab at the Foreign Office in September, dismissed claims she was responsible for wasting taxpayers’ money after it emerged she had used a government-hired jet to travel to Australia with aides and protection officers.
The source said: ‘These things are watched by friends, allies and indeed adversaries around the world, so it’s an important way to get our message out in the modern digital world.’
A video released by the Foreign Office last week on the Northern Ireland protocol sparked claims the clip amounted to ‘propaganda’. The video warned that the protocol, which is being renegotiated by Ms Truss, undermines the peace process in Northern Ireland and “must be fixed”. Brexiteers hailed the “refreshing change of tone” from the Foreign Office.
Last week, Ms Truss said the government had hired a private plane ‘precisely for ministers to travel’ as she did in Australia, as she insisted that ‘every government decision is based on optimization of resources”. Officials said using the jet allowed the trip’s delegation to travel together and have private discussions about sensitive security issues.