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Spads: Who or what are government Special Advisers

6 March 2014 Last updated at 10:54 GMT

Government advisers - known as Spads - were largely unknown creatures until comedies, such as The Thick of It, offered an insight into their world.

Usually seen at the side of a cabinet minister or opposition spokesman, ear glued to a mobile phone. they are starting to step out of the shadows and some end up becoming politicians in their own right.

David Thompson reports on what happened to previous Spads and spoke to Labour MP Paul Flynn, Bath University politics lecturer Peter Allen, and ConservativeHome editor Paul Goodman.

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