Spencer Livermore (born 12 June 1975, Slough, England) is a strategy and communications professional. He is Director of strategy consultancy Thirty Six Strategy and Director of Strategy at London-based communications consultancy Blue Rubicon, advising clients on strategy, communications, research and message development in the context of corporate and brand campaigns. He was Director of Strategy for Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown in 10 Downing Street until 2008, and a member of the campaign team in the successful General Elections of 1997, 2001 and 2005.
Livermore grew up in Wickford, Essex, attending Beauchamps Comprehensive School and Basildon College, before taking a BSc (Econ) in Government at the London School of Economics, where he graduated in 1996.
After graduating, Livermore worked for Gordon Brown, then Labour's Shadow Chancellor, during the 1997 General Election campaign in which the Labour Party under the leadership of Tony Blair returned to power following 18 years in opposition to the Conservative Party. After the campaign he was appointed a Special Adviser in the Treasury, working as a key political aide to Gordon Brown, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer.
In the run-up to the 2001 General Election, at the request of the Chancellor, who was Chair of Strategy for the election campaign, Livermore went to work alongside the General Election co-ordinator Douglas Alexander, Member of Parliament, at the Labour Party's Millbank Tower headquarters, helping to run the campaign as Director of Research. When he returned to the Treasury after the 2001 General Election, Livermore was appointed as Special Adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Livermore helped run the 2005 General Election campaign, acting as Brown's campaign strategist, and working closely with Philip Gould, after which Livermore was appointed as the most senior of Brown's advisers, as Chief Strategy Adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, responsible for planning strategic communications, managing all qualitative and quantitative research, and developing the Government's economic messaging. During this time, Livermore also worked on a number of US congressional campaigns.
It was subsequently reported that as Chief Strategy Adviser to the Chancellor, Livermore opposed the disastrous abolition of the 10p rate of income tax in the 2007 Budget, but was over-ruled by the Chancellor.
Following Tony Blair’s resignation as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007, Gordon Brown, as the new Leader of the Labour Party, became Prime Minister. Gordon Brown appointed Livermore to 10 Downing Street as Director of Strategy, attending Cabinet meetings and with responsibility for strategic planning, narrative construction and message development. He devised the strategy and narrative for Gordon Brown's leadership transition in 2007 and Brown's subsequent first 100 days.
Livermore was the first of Gordon Brown's advisers to advocate holding an early General Election in the autumn of 2007, writing the initial strategy memo to the Prime Minister setting out this course of action.
After Gordon Brown failed to call a General Election, Livermore left Downing Street in 2008 and joined advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon as Senior Strategist, shaping strategy for clients including Eurostar, the BBC, and Asda. He was the first of Gordon Brown's senior advisers to leave Downing Street, and was replaced in Number 10 by David Muir from WPP.
In September 2009, it was reported that Livermore had been asked by Peter Mandelson to return to Downing Street as Chief of Staff, and by Gordon Brown to run the planning of Labour's election campaign, but that he had declined both offers.
Livermore has said little publicly about his time in Downing Street, although he gave an interview to Steve Richards on BBC Radio 4 in September 2010, setting out the events leading up to the 'non-election' of 2007. He has also written on political strategy for the Guardian newspaper.
Livermore is now a Director at London-based communications consultancy Blue Rubicon. He set up and has Board responsibility for the agency's Strategic Consulting arm, developing insight-based communication, campaign, and brand positioning strategies for multinational companies, including Shell, Coca-Cola, GSK, Lloyds Banking Group, Centrica, and McDonalds.
In 2012, he set up Thirty Six Strategy, where he advises clients on their corporate and brand positioning, applying the techniques of political campaign strategy to provide clarity on strategic direction, maximise competitive differentials, and develop messaging that resonates with target audiences.
In November 2007 Gay Times described him as the most powerful gay man in Britain. In December 2007, Pink News listed him as the most powerful gay person in British politics. He lives with his partner, Seb Dance, in London, who is also a former government special adviser – to Northern Ireland Secretary, Shaun Woodward.
- "Rage, despair, indecision. Inside Gordon Brown's Number 10". The Observer.
- "Spencer Livermore joins ad industry". The Guardian. (17 March 2008).
- "Nick Robinson's Newslog: Team Brown's a-changing". BBC (17 March 2008).
- "No 10 turns to Alastair Campbell and Gould to advise inexperienced election team". London Evening Standard (14 September 2009).
- Grice, Andrew. (17 September 2010) How 'the election that never was' turned political allies into bitter rivals – UK Politics – UK. The Independent.
- "The Brown Years: Episode 1". BBC iPlayer (21 September 2010).
- "Spencer Livermore: Labour's road to recovery". The Guardian (13 February 2012).
- Spencer Livermore quits SSF for Blue Rubicon. Campaignlive.co.uk (9 January 2009).
- "Blue Rubicon launches strategic arm Thirty Six Strategy". Brand Republic. (22 February 2012).
- Iain Dale's Diary: Pink News Publishes 'Top Gayers in Politics' List. Iaindale.blogspot.com (26 December 2007).
- Writer, Staff. (27 December 2007) Profile: The most powerful gay man in British politics. PinkNews.co.uk.
- Numbers and Cost of Special Advisers: 22 Nov 2007: Hansard Written Answers and Statements. TheyWorkForYou (22 November 2007).