When Theresa May sat in the cabinet as the Home Secretary she kept her political aides close by her side and as she ascended to the role of Prime Minister, she made sure her most trusted came with her. Nick Timothy, Fiona Hill and Stephen Parkinson were described as forces to be reckoned with throughout parliament and their influence now extends to how the Prime Minister runs Britain.
The three advisors have always been key parts of Team May and as such have become prolific within the parliamentary sphere of influence. Those rare few who have never dealt with them before will soon see why they are so effective in their roles.
One of May’s specialist advisors during her time in the Home Office. Considered a close confidante, she led work on the Modern Slavery Act, publishing her own work on the subject. Fiona was forced to resign from her role as Specialist Advisor in 2014, but has now returned as the Prime Minister’s Joint Chief of Staff.
Credited with influencing the Prime Minister’s views on Blue Collar Conservatism, Nick Timothy is another former Specialist Advisor to Mrs May. Described as an influential voice throughout his time with the PM, he is also currently taking a joint position as Chief of Staff.
Campaigning against changing the UK’s voting system in the 2011 referendum and campaigning for a leave vote during the 2016 EU referendum, Stephen Parkinson has vast political experience. Another former Specialist Advisor to Theresa May, he is reported to have helped run her leadership campaign despite their differences in EU ideology.
These advisors all offer a unique perspective for Theresa May to turn to as she shapes her new government. The new PM is preparing for the New Year and she appears to be looking to bring a new type of conservatism to 2017.
Back in March, Nick Timothy published his assessment of the Conservative party and outlined what he recognised as their biggest weakness. In his report he argued that voters didn’t believe that the Tories cared about ordinary people, insinuating that public perception associated the Conservatives with the elites and disenfranchising the working class.
A few months later, Theresa May stood outside the steps on Number 10 with a mission statement: To make Britain a country that works for everyone. The new Prime Minister seemed to offer a different type of Conservatism which is frequently known as ‘Blue Collar.’
This more central-right approach is the solution Timothy recommended to the problem he outlined, and May’s readiness to accept his advice shows just how influential her aides can be towards her tenure.
May obviously looks to keep her most trusted advisors close by and The Spectator published a quote from a parliamentary insider saying:
“Seems to influence what she thinks to an almost scary extent”
However, this is not to suggest that the Prime Minister’s aides are pulling the strings behind the scenes, May is still very much the one in charge. The article also mentions that other Tories suggest that she only draws on the advice of her advisors when she already agrees with them.
May doesn’t just rely on her political aides, she has a whole cabinet of well-established professionals to help her govern the country. While her advisors do influence her, she is still the one in charge. Since becoming PM she has been known throughout Parliament to stick to her guns while respectfully listening to her colleagues.
Ken Clarke once referred to Theresa May as a “bloody difficult woman” and while she has seemed to embrace this on her rise to Prime Minister, so too have her most loyal and trusted advisors.