The Staggers 30 November 2012 Neil O'Brien appointed special adviser to Osborne Policy Exchange director will focus on developing the Conservatives' next manifesto. Print HTML George Osborne has just completed his second big signing of the week. After naming Mark Carney as governor of the Bank of England on Monday, he's secured the services of Policy Exchange director Neil O'Brien as a special adviser. O'Brien, who has been director of the cente-right think-tank since 2008, will focus on the development of the Conservatives' next general election manifesto. It's a smart move by Osborne; O'Brien, a New Statesman contributor, is one of the most innovative conservative thinkers of his generation and a moderniser who understands what the Tories need to do if they're to stand a chance of winning in 2015. In a piece for the NS last month ("The challenge for the Tories is to find their own version of Blairism"), he wrote: At the next election, Tory candidates need a clearer offering for those who work hard on low incomes; something to say to the fifth of households that live in social housing; and an agenda that makes sense to people in areas of high unemployment and to the millions who work in public services. As he showed in another piece for the NS, on the meaning of "Milibandism", he also understands the threat posed by Labour. Policy Exchange deputy director David Skelton, another NS contributor, will serve as acting director while the think-tank looks for a replacement for O’Brien. Congratulations to both. › The net migration target is bad policy and bad politics Neil O'Brien has served as director of Policy Exchange since 2008. George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. From only £1 a week Subscribe More Related articles Autumn Statement 2015: How should Labour respond? Autumn Statement 2015: will women bear the brunt again? John McDonnell interview: "We’re going to destroy Osborne’s credibility"