Neil Carmichael takes job at political lobbying firm PLMR

Neil Carmichael, the former chair of the education select committee who lost his seat as an MP at the last election, has been appointed a senior adviser at the political lobbying firm PLMR.

The ex-Conservative MP, who lost his Stroud seat in June, started his new role today, working one day a week “to provide senior counsel to clients”, which include some high-profile academy trusts.

PLMR, which stands for Political Lobbying and Media Relations, does PR for several major players in education, including Ormiston Academies Trust, the Independent Schools Council, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Tauheedul Education Trust.

But in line with the code of conduct laid out by the PRCA, an industry trade body for communications firms, Carmichael will not “initially” be allowed to lobby for political causes because he is a former MP.

Instead, he will focus on advising clients and the team at PLMR, rather than lobbying. PRCA guidance says he specifically cannot lobby for the first six months.

As a member of PRCA, PLMR has also required Carmichael to hand back his parliamentary pass, which allows him access to Portcullis House, a major government building opposite the Houses of Parliament, as well as other parliamentary spaces. All former MPs receive a pass so they can still access these buildings.

PLMR also used to do the communications for Durand Academy Trust, which paid it £152,000 in 2011 to ensure it was mentioned in parliament and the press, according to the trust’s accounts at the time.

Carmichael, who started out as a livestock farmer before becoming a lecturer in British history and moving into public affairs, sat on the education select committee between 2010 and 2017.

He chaired it from 2015, during a period in which it was frequently critical of government policy, including raising “concerns” about its appointment of Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman.

In a press release, Carmichael said he was “delighted” to be joining PLMR.

“With so many areas of public policy to be contested, reformed and scrutinised, there will be plenty to do,” he said.

Elin de Zoete, the firm’s managing director, said Carmichael brought a “wealth” of experience, including a “detailed understanding of parliamentary process and policy development”.

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  1. Would that de Zoete be any relation to the Henry de Zoete that Gove appointed as a SPAD alongside the increasingly off his head Dominic Cummings? Small world, cronyism. Still, might be wrong – it’s a common enough name.