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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Sixsmith leaves troubled department
Martin Sixsmith, former transport media chief
Martin Sixsmith is said to have tried to sell his story
The transport department media chief at the heart of the spin row that contributed to Stephen Byers' downfall officially leaves his job on Friday.

Martin Sixsmith outlived Mr Byers, who resigned on Tuesday, at the department despite being suspended on full pay in February.

It means all the main players in the "spingate" row have left what is now a new-look transport department.

Spin furore

Jo Moore, the spin doctor who said 11 September was a good day to bury bad news, resigned in February and the top transport civil servant, Sir Richard Mottram has been moved.

Mr Sixsmith was at the centre of the power struggle in the department which erupted in February.

Richard Mottram has been moved from transport too
Details of an email he had written warning that no announcements should be made on the day of Princess Margaret's funeral were leaked to the media.

Downing Street talked of the department being "dysfunctional" and soon afterwards it was announced that both Mr Sixsmith and Ms Moore had resigned.

That provoked a furore as Mr Sixsmith denied giving up his job as communications chief - something the transport department later accepted.

Newspaper deals

Mr Byers was accused of lying in the episode - claims he denied but which added to the spiral of criticism that forced his resignation.

Mr Sixsmith, who has secured a 180,000 pay-off from the government, is thought to have insisted he would not talk until he had left the civil service officially.

Mr Byers left his post on Tuesday, resigning in a press conference at 10 Downing Street and was replaced by Alistair Darling in the government reshuffle.

Sir Richard Mottram, the most senior civil servant in the transport department, has also been moved to the Department of Work and Pensions.

In February's row, he came to Mr Byers' defence with an unusual personal statement.

The department itself has also been reshaped, with its responsibility for regions and local government policy stripped away.


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30 May 02 | UK Politics
30 May 02 | UK Politics

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