Belfast Telegraph

Stormont spin doctor David Gordon out of job six months after controversial appointment

Stormont's new chief spin doctor David Gordon has announced he is losing his job, just six months after his controversial appointment.

Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness used Royal Prerogative powers to appoint Mr Gordon as press secretary to the Executive Office on a £75,000 a year salary last September.

At the time he was editor of the BBC's Stephen Nolan show and said he could not turn down the opportunity.

There was fierce criticism at the time over the apparent secrecy of the appointment, with it not being advertised through the regular process.

However, given the collapse of the institutions, the ex-Belfast Telegraph political editor is preparing to clear his desk, having just got his feet under the table.

In a bittersweet post on Facebook, the former journalist said: "Losing my job in a few weeks. But [Man] City are up to third and Kylie is single again. Swings and roundabouts."

Mr Gordon is considered one of Northern Ireland's most respected journalists and was credited as the driving force behind the success of Nolan's 'biggest radio show in the country'.

Previously he was editor of the Nolan Show for three years after the BBC brought him in to add his heavyweight political clout to the popular Radio Ulster morning show.

On the announcement he was to switch from poacher to gamekeeper Stephen Nolan described his editor as the "most talented, knowledgeable political journalist".

"The Nolan Show has held Stormont to account for many years now and David has been at the very heart of this," the broadcaster said.

"He is a political anorak, the very best and the most decent. His journalism is aggressive, but fairness and integrity is always his core bottom line."

Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness issued a statement saying it was a "joint appointment". They added: "We are delighted that David, an experienced and well-regarded journalist, has agreed to take up this post.

They said the role would reflect "the Executive's shared commitment to communicate effectively and move forward together, and we look forward to working closely with David as our Executive Press Secretary."

Mr Gordon - who replaced another former BBC journalist, Stephen Grimason, at Stormont - described his new post as an exciting challenge last September.

He said: "This is an opportunity I simply could not turn down.

"I will enjoy getting a different perspective on the interaction between journalists and Government.

"Journalists have a duty to hold politicians to account and ask the tough questions that need to be asked."

Mr Gordon has been approached for a comment.

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