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  1. Politics
2 March 2012

Steve Hilton to take a year’s sabbatical

David Cameron's director of strategy is to take a year of unpaid leave to take up academic position

By Samira Shackle

Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s closest adviser, is to leave Downing Street to go on sabbatical for a year.

A Number 10 spokesman announced today that Hilton, the Prime Minister’s director of strategy, would take up an “unpaid academic sabbatical at Stanford University” but would return next summer. He said:

With his wife and young family, Steve will be moving to California. He will join Stanford as a visiting scholar at the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and will also be a visiting fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. He will spend his year on campus teaching, researching and writing, and will focus on innovation in government, public services and communities around the world.

Hilton is the man widely credited with “detoxifying” the Tory brand. Last month the Telegraph‘s Robert Colvile described Hilton’s brand of blue sky thinking:

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In his personal mythology, he’s an engine of creative destruction, a T-shirted whirlwind who pads around Downing Street in his socks dictating a stream of outside-the-box ideas on anything from leaving the EU to stretching out the summer using cloud-bursting.

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The spoof Twitter account @SteveHiltonGuru has been in action, tweeting ominously: “THERE’S ‘UNPAID’ AND UNPAID. DONT WORRY ABOUT ME”. He gave this explanation: “I made it very clear. I get my own way or I’m gone. Some people don’t listen. #governmentbyhissyfit”.