Chris Fox appointed new Lib Dem Director of Policy & Communications

by Stephen Tall on December 10, 2008

After a six-month search, the party has finally been able to appoint a successor to Jonny Oates in the key role of Director of Policy and Communications: Chris Fox will be joining the Lib Dems in the New Year.

Chris has spent 20 years leading communications in international and FTSE100 companies, and is currently employed by engineering firm Smiths Group. Prior to that he was Director of Corporate Relations at Tate and Lyle plc.

Chris stood for the Lib Dems for Parliament in 1997, in Windsor, finishing runner-up, with 29% of the vote. In 2000, he stood unsuccessfully for election to the party’s Federal Executive. He was also chair of the advisory board of Liberal Future, the market liberal think tank which wound up in 2005, in which capacity he wrote to The Guardian in 2002 setting out his political stall:

Electoral success will require us to put forward policies that are principled, credible and honest. Liberal Future believes that the right thing to do for the country is to decentralise public services and to create more choice for the users of those services. This choice could just as easily come from a revitalised mutual sector as it could come from any business entity. This agenda should be seen as quite separate from any plans to increase tax that we may also put before the electorate.

We believe that this agenda would attract votes from Conservative and Labour heartlands. This is a principled and popular way forward, and one that sits comfortably with our liberal traditions.

Here’s how Nick Clegg welcomed Chris’s appointment:

I am delighted that Chris is joining us. His background at the highest level of corporate communications will add an extra edge to the party’s message. He also brings a deep knowledge of the Liberal Democrats and UK politics and I know that he will be a great addition to our senior team.

And let’s leave the last word to Chris himself:

As a member of the party since I was 16 years old and former councillor and parliamentary candidate I have seen the Liberal Democrats become an ever more efficient and effective campaigning force. It is a huge honour and responsibility to be taking up this role but I am encouraged by the strength of the team.

The world is changing faster than any of us could imagine and Britain needs a coherent vision of the future. I know that Nick Clegg and his parliamentary team are better placed than ever to communicate our progressive agenda – with local campaigners working effectively to engage the imagination and energy of people across the UK.

The party’s communications and policy team is already doing a great job and I am looking forward to helping it deliver new levels of achievement.

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He’s also a thoroughly nice bloke…

by Andy on December 10, 2008 at 9:31 am. Reply #

A dangerous appointment from someone associated with particular factions in the past. Mark Littlewood mark II?

by Daniel Bowen on December 10, 2008 at 11:05 am. Reply #

Great news, he’s a real big hitter with serious professional expertise and credibility. A very courageous appointment by Lord Rennard.

by Neil Berry on December 10, 2008 at 11:19 am. Reply #

“He was also chair of the advisory board of Liberal Future, the market liberal think tank”

It did little thinking and tanked quite heavily. Pretty much the predecessor of Liberal Vision as a five day wonder.

I thought Chris was personally a decent enough bloke when I’ve met him – but this is someone whose record on policy within the party is of being on the extremes rather than the mainstream.

by Hywel Morgan on December 10, 2008 at 11:33 am. Reply #

I worked with Chris in Windsor in the run up to 1997 and he was excellent.
He worked well with everyone no matter what wing of the party they were from.
He understands what makes the party tick and got stuck in.
I think this is an excellent appointment and I wish him all the best.

by Chris Gee on December 10, 2008 at 12:23 pm. Reply #

Good choice. Will quiz him extensively about his plans when I see him this evening…

by Dan on December 10, 2008 at 1:58 pm. Reply #

Excellent choice. Great mix of commerical and political background. Worked with him during last General Election campaign when he headed up the media monitoring. Provided very good ammo for us on a range of complaints against broadcasters.

Hope he manages to make the role work really successfully, my feeling is that in recent times the DofC job spec has sometimes fallen between a number of stools.

by Mark Littlewood on December 10, 2008 at 2:30 pm. Reply #

This is one job for which a free-thinker is not suitable. Let’s hope he can enjoys the discipline required.

by Oranjepan on December 10, 2008 at 10:07 pm. Reply #

An excellent choice. Congrats to Chris.

by Dave McCullough on December 12, 2008 at 9:59 am. Reply #

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