New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Election 2024
17 September 2015updated 05 Oct 2023 8:38am

Jeremy Corbyn bolsters his team with former Livingstone and Johnson aide Neale Colman

The well-regarded City Hall veteran will be the Labour leader's director of policy and rebuttal. 

By George Eaton

After his fifth day in the job, Jeremy Corbyn’s team is beginning to take shape. Having appointed a shadow cabinet earlier this week, the Labour leader is due to announce a full shadow ministerial line-up later today. He has also appointed Neale Coleman, currently an adviser to Boris Johnson on Olympic and Paralympic legacy, as his director of policy and rebuttal. Coleman was formerly a senior adviser to Ken Livingstone in whose team he worked alongside Corbyn’s campaign director and chief of staff Simon Fletcher, and was co-chair of the Olympic Delivery Committee

It is a reflection of Coleman’s qualities that he was retained by Johnson despite his ties to his political nemesis. The mayor said: “Neale Coleman has served London with great distinction over many years and I’m sorry to see him go. His unswerving dedication to this city transcended party politics. First under Ken Livingstone and then as my Olympic advisor, Neale helped deliver the greatest Olympic and Paralympic Games ever.”

Before entering City Hall, Coleman’s roles included serving as Deputy Leader of the Westminster Council Labour Group from 1982-90. Contrary to some reports, he will not act as a (much-needed) spin doctor for Corbyn. The role of director of policy and rebuttal is distinct from the press operation, and was formerly held by Torsten Bell, now director of the Resolution Foundation. After recruiting two former Livingstone aides, sources are speculating whether Joy Johnson, the former mayor’s director of communications, will be hired. Following Coleman’s appointment, she tweeted:” #Jeremy4PM appointment of Neale Coleman as director of policy & rebuttal smart move. Not only formidable intellect he is genuinely nice.” Carmel Nolan, who was head of media for the Corbybn campaign, is said by sources to be in talks about transitioning to the leader’s office. The former journalist and spokeswoman for the Stop the War Coalition currently lives in the Wirral but may be persuaded to make the move to Westminster. 

Update:Joy Johnson tweets to tell me that she will not serve as Corbyn’s communications director as she is “happy with Unite”, where she is a political officer. 

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy