Page last updated at 20:23 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 21:23 UK

Speaker Bercow hires a spokesman

By Robert Peston
BBC business editor

John Bercow
Mr Bercow was elected as Commons Speaker in June

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has appointed a former Times journalist as his special adviser and spokesman.

Tim Hames, who is currently a director of communications for a lobby group, was chosen without anyone else being interviewed for the post.

It is thought to be the first time a Speaker has taken on someone with the job title of special adviser.

Mr Hames will start work on 2 November and is expected to spend about a third of his time dealing with the media.

He will be a special adviser on a Grade 1 status, meaning he will get a salary of between £87,000 and £107,000 a year.

It is understood that Mr Hames, who worked on the Times for 12 years, including seven years as chief leader writer, will be paid at the lower end of the scale.

His contract will run until next summer.

The coming months are expected to be fraught for the Speaker, as he acts as a bridge between MPs and Sir Christopher Kelly, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, who is leading an inquiry into their system of expenses and allowances.

Mr Bercow, the MP for Buckingham, was elected Speaker in June, replacing Michael Martin.



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