Hacks aghast as Ukip press chief Gawain Towler throws in the towel
Towler is known in SW1 as a resilient and good-humoured spin doctor who once hauled a candidate off the beach in Margate.
“Sad to see Gawain Towler leave Ukip,” stated Nigel Farage today. “He was always on call, always honest and always loyal.”
After PRWeek revealed that the long-serving spin doctor was quitting Ukip after 13 years, the former leader was not the only one sounding a bit despondent.
The most dramatic response was provided by Telegraph chief political correspondent Chis ‘Chopper’ Hope, who tweeted desperately: “This is a disaster for Ukip. Gawain - please reconsider!”
He then clarified that he was “not supporting Ukip, just the work of an excellent PR guy who has been the first point of call for all Ukip stories over past decade”.
Another senior lobby journalist told TP: "Gawain was that rare breed of press officer, one who would always answer the phone to you and tell you what he actually thought. Whatever the story - and there lots of bad ones from a Ukip point of view - he always remained remarkably good-humoured and happy to help. He was one of a kind and will be missed."
And a third senior hack simply expressed fond memories of the occasion in 2015 when action man Towler ended up a hauling a Ukip parliamentary candidate off the beach in Margate because the tide was coming in.
Towler is said to be setting up a "reputation management consultancy", provisionally named CWC, which stands for 'Crisis, What Crisis?'
On the BBC’s Daily Politics show, he insisted his departure had nothing to do with Ukip’s latest problems. "I was going to leave after the referendum. Some level of stability was required with a new leader, and then a new leader, and then a new leader, and then a general election," he said.
Asked for his highlights, Towler suggested it was a toss-up between the Margate beach incident, the Ukip councillor who blamed flooding on gay marriage and the revelation that a Ukip local government candidate had worked as a porn star for 40 years.
Fans of his work are just hoping that Towler kept a diary...
Picture by: Dave Thompson/PA Archive/PA Images