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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

Ed Beefs Up Comms

Ed Miliband has decided to beef up his media team with a new hire of Deputy Director of Communications, I can reveal.

The new post will be advertised within the next 48 hours and an open process held to select the right candidate. No one at Labour HQ will confirm who's likely to get it but I understand that some big names from the Lobby are in play.

The recruit will be based at 1, Brewer's Green, Labour's headquarters, rather than in the Leader's office, and they will report directly to Bob Roberts (the ex Daily Mirror pol ed who has sharpened up the party's press operation).

The new hire is not a response to Lynton Crosby (it has been planned for some while) but is more about focusing on the 2015 general election.

"It's about bringing the discipline and co-ordination that Labour had in Government and Downing Street to our Opposition. It's about the new speed and focus we need in attacking the Government and raising the profile of the Shadow Cabinet in the run up to the general election," one insider tells me. "It's about strengthening the centre for the battle ahead."

Roberts' deputy will help the media team better cover every news story and policy announcement the level of detail neeeded across the piece. The new person will definitely not be a 'strategy' appointment (some in the party grumble that there are already too many people with that title already).

The new deputy director will be in post by the party conference season. Which is roughly when the PM is due to get Gabby Bertin, currently on maternity leave, back at his side (though she's more likely to rejoin No.10 after the conference madness is over and the House is back).

With the Tories still without a former newspaper hack on their team (Henry Macrory is still much missed some say), Labour may well opt for a Lobby journo who knows about deadlines and intros and page leads in a way a non-journo can't. Newspapers still matter in the news cycle, despite the fresh focus in No.10 on broadcast (and in smaller way, on online news).

As for those in the running, there have been worries among some in the Shadow Cabinet that some journos tipped for the post are a tad too close to Gordon Brown's former aides for comfort. It hasn't gone unnoticed that one Lobby journo in particular has been Tweeting stuff of late that suggests just that...

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