Farewell Steve Hilton, the PM's most unconventional adviser

Steve Hilton on his bike

So farewell then, Steve Hilton*.

Downing Street won't be the same when you head off to California.

Gone will be the man who greeted President Obama in his socks and who walked the corridors of power in shorts and a T-shirt.

Gone will be the person prepared not just to think the unthinkable but to challenge officials and ministers to explain why it couldn't or shouldn't be done - like scrapping maternity rights to make it cheaper for businesses to hire new workers, building a new airport on an island to the east of London or going to war with the EU to escape its bureaucratic rules.

Gone will be the friend who calls the prime minister "Dave" and is willing to challenge him for not being clear enough nor impatient enough about how he wants to change the country.

When they get home tonight there will be civil servants and Liberal Democrats who will secretly raise a glass and hope that yours is a one-way ticket to the United States and not just a year's sabbatical.

They will tell their friends and families that you were not an easy man to get along with.

They will whisper that they've heard that you were the man who told the Times that the health secretary should be "taken out and shot" for his failure to sell the NHS reforms.

Your friend Dave has coped without you before - when he was leader of the opposition and you took an American sabbatical.

Your departure this time, though, will further increase the power of two men in this government - the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood and the Chancellor, party strategist and Dave's other best political friend, George Osborne.

* Downing Street have just announced that "Steve Hilton will be taking an unpaid academic sabbatical at Stanford University, starting this summer and returning next summer. 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 (FSI), 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".

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

Scots votes on English NHS laws

I have been speaking to Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about how SNP MPs will vote after the next general election.

Read full article

More on This Story

More from Nick


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    The "man who told the Times that the health secretary should be "taken out and shot".....

    Typical government all promise and no action again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    81. While all parties have not so nice members, a small one like UKIP seems to have more than it's share.
    Candidate Helene Davis-Green with her 'interesting' ideas on the fate of Maddie McCann. Bob Spink - one of the very worst expenses blaggers. Jailed; Tom Wise. Fraud. Who also boasted of his Brussels gravy train. Two candidates, Jason Phillips and Paul Kidd. Ugh! I'll let you look these up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    How did this turn from something about Steve Hilton taking a sabbatica to a smear campaign on UKIP?

    Although I voted UKIP at the last election, what happens to them is in their own hands. If they're serious about winning seats they'll have to up their game.

    Easier though if you're a left winger to slag someone else off than admit you screwed up....

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    So what's your point?
    Most of the mendacious, wastrel Labour party MP's past & present should be doing 'porridge' Ever heard of a place called 'Iraq'?
    If you want a serious & proper discussion try & 'raise the bar'?
    IMWO, the BB-Crats' lack of coverage of UKIP conference should be investigated by ? - Trouble is the BB-Crats are 'untouchable'.
    Far too much bias with BB-Crats?

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    UKIP are only a major party in their own heads. Bunch of cranks. Then there is the conduct of some of it's members, most notoriously this charmer;

    Did so much benefit fraud he did 9 months inside? Bet he blamed it on Johnny Foreigner all the way down to the cells too.


Comments 5 of 84



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.