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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 12:30 GMT
Clegg hires Thatcher campaign man
Baroness Thatcher celebrates her third election win in 1987
Baroness Thatcher celebrates her third election win in 1987
New Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has brought in the man who helped run the advertising campaign for Baroness Thatcher's 1987 general election win.

John Sharkey, who is a former joint managing director of Saatchi & Saatchi UK, has been named as Mr Clegg's adviser on strategic communications.

Mr Clegg has also announced he is setting up a commission to carry out a "root-and-branch" review of the party.

It will be led by Chris Bones, the principal of Henley Management College.

I am determined that this root and branch review should take us towards meeting my commitment of at least doubling our number of seats within two elections
Nick Clegg
Lib Dem leader

The commission's remit will look at party organisation, ranging from structure to campaign capability and will take evidence from current and former staff, MPs and all four ex-party leaders.

Mr Clegg also announced that Chris Rennard, as in 2005, will chair the party's general election campaign.

Doubling target

Andrew Stunnell will head local election campaigns, Willie Rennie is to be chair of parliamentary campaigns and Ed Davey becomes chair of the party's campaigns and communications committee.

Mr Sharkey's role will be to help the party achieve Mr Clegg's goal of the Lib Dems breaking the UK's current "two-party system".

The ex-Saatchi & Saatchi man is honorary treasurer of the Hansard Society, non-executive chairman of airport advertising firm Ad-Air and chairman of management consultancy Sharkey Associates.

While at Saatchi & Saatchi he had special responsibility for the Turkish government's preparation of its case for entry into the European Union, as well as the Conservative election campaign in 1987.

Mr Clegg said all the appointments would help "focus our efforts away from Westminster and ensure that we are tackling the issues that people across the country care about".

He added: "The party reform commission is critical in ensuring that we make the best electoral impact over the coming years.

"I am determined that this root-and-branch review should take us towards meeting my commitment of at least doubling our number of seats within two elections."

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