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Jo Moore (born 1963) served as a British special adviser and press officer ('spin doctor'). She was embroiled in scandal while working as advisor to Stephen Byers, the Transport, Local Government and Regions Secretary.
Moore began working as a press officer for local authorities in London but moved to work for the Labour Party in the early 1980s. She was also active in local politics in Haringey. By the early 1990s she was the Labour Party's chief press officer. She served as Chief Press and Broadcasting Officer during the Labour Party's 1997 general election campaign. In 1998 she left her job to work part-time as an Account Director at a leading lobbying company. However Stephen Byers appointed her (initially part-time) as his Special Adviser from 17 February 1999.
9/11 email scandal
At 2:55pm BST (9:55am EDT) on 11 September 2001, after both World Trade Center towers had been hit in terrorist attacks, but before either tower had collapsed, Moore sent an email to the press office of her department which read:
- It's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury. Councillors' expenses?
The Department did indeed announce on the following day two minor changes to the system of Councillors Allowances. Nearly a month later, Moore's email was leaked to the press where it provoked opprobrium around the cynical nature of spin. Moore ultimately made a personal appearance before the cameras to apologise for what she had written.
The leaked email appeared on the day after Byers had announced the placing of Railtrack, the private sector rail infrastructure company, in administration. It was eventually to be replaced by Network Rail, a not-for-profit 'public interest company'. In November the department appointed a new Director of Communications, Martin Sixsmith.
However, on 13 February 2002 the row flared up again when a leak to the press alleged that Moore had made further attempts to "bury" unfavourable railway statistics on the day of a major event. It was backed up by a copy of an email from Martin Sixsmith saying "Princess Margaret is being buried [on Friday]. I will absolutely not allow anything else to be". Both Moore and Sixsmith said the email was a fabrication and Downing Street initially said the e-mail rebuke did not exist but performed a U-turn on the afternoon of 14 February after it emerged that Sixsmith had indeed sent an email in such terms (although the wording was not accurately reported).
Jo Moore and Martin Sixsmith both resigned on 15 February 2002 after Downing Street called on Transport Secretary Stephen Byers to get the continuing Whitehall spin row "sorted out".
Further information revealed a murky picture. The department had picked the Friday for the release of the figures before it had been selected as the day for the funeral. Sixsmith had sent an email to Byers, and copied it to Moore; the leaker (an unidentified civil servant) had rewritten it to seem more damaging to Moore.
- "These Unfortunate Events" - report of the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Administration.