Alastair Campbell is a communicator and business strategist best known for his role as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman, Chief Press Secretary and Director of Communications and Strategy. Still very much active in politics in Britain and around the world, he now divides his time between writing, after dinner speaking, charitable fundraising and consultancy.
Alastair was born in Yorkshire in 1957, moved to Leicester in 1968 and attended school there until going to Cambridge University in 1975. He graduated four years later with a degree in modern languages. This included a year in France when he had his first 'journalism' published, articles on sex in Forum magazine. He also busked around the world with his bagpipes.
Alastair eventually decided to become a journalist and trained with the Mirror Group on local papers in the West Country before joining the Mirror itself in 1982. He left in the mid 1980s to work for Eddy Shah's ‘Today' newspaper but subsequently returned to the Mirror. There he rose to become Political Editor and the paper's Political Columnist. He then worked briefly for Today under new ownership in 1994 before being asked by Tony Blair to be his Press Secretary when he became leader of the Labour Party. Alastair did this for three years, and in his own autobiography, Tony Blair credits Alastair with coining the phrase ‘New Labour' as the label for the party's strategy, and described him as a ‘genius' for the role he played in helping to create New Labour, return the Party to power, and win three general elections.
After the 1997 election Alastair became the Prime Minister's Chief Press Secretary and Official Spokesman. He did this job for Labour's first term but after helping Tony Blair win a second term, he became Director of Communications and Strategy. Alastair did this until he resigned in 2003, saying it had been enormous privilege but he wanted more of a life with his partner and their three children.
Since resigning as Director of Communications and Strategy, Alastair has been spending his time making after dinner and keynote speeches, writing, working for his charity and corporate consulting. He remains one of the party¹s most in-demand speakers at fundraising and motivational events. Together with former sports minister Richard Caborn, he pulled together two of the most successful fundraising dinners in Labour¹s history, both on the theme of sport at Wembley stadium.
Alastair Campbell's main hobbies are running, playing bagpipes and following Burnley FC. He took up running at the instigation of his sons and he has since run the London Marathon, the Great North Run, and the Great Ethiopian Run, all for Leukaemia Research Fund, his best friend having been killed by the disease.
In his time in Downing Street he was involved in all the major policy issues and international crises. He has said that in ten years in the media, and a decade in politics, he saw his respect for the media fall and his respect for politics rise. He was called to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards twice, first for his insights into modern journalism, second to give his views on the changed relationship between politics and media. He is a sought after speaker at events around the world, specialising in strategic communications, leadership, team building and crisis management.