Fiona McLeod Hill, formerly Cunningham, (born 1973) is a British political adviser. She served as Joint Downing Street Chief of Staff, alongside Nick Timothy, until her resignation following the 2017 general election.
Fiona Hill was born in Greenock, and attended St Stephen’s Roman Catholic Secondary School in Port Glasgow. Before turning to politics, she worked as a journalist in both the press and broadcast sectors; her experience included working for The Scotsman and later, Sky News. While at Sky, Hill met Tim Cunningham, whom she married; the couple later divorced. She joined the Conservative Party press office in 2006, before spending a period at the British Chamber of Commerce, and then returning to work for the Conservatives.
From 2010, Hill worked alongside Theresa May in the Home Office as a media adviser. She resigned in 2014. She left government after being forced to resign as May's special adviser in a 2014 dispute with Michael Gove over alleged extremism in schools, which culminated in her releasing a confidential letter on May's website, prompting then Prime Minister, David Cameron, to insist that May sack her. In 2015, Hill became a Director of Lexington Communications, a lobbying firm.
Little of her own political stance is on public record. Unlike Timothy, with whom she shared the post of Chief of Staff for a year, she avoided writing opinion articles. James Kirkup, who worked with Hill as a journalist on The Scotsman, suggested "it's probably fair to say that Mrs May only talks about modern slavery [as a priority for government action] because of Ms Hill, and that's not the only issue of which that is true".
The 2017 general election saw the return of the Conservatives as a minority government, with their majority now being dependent on the Democratic Unionist Party, leading to widespread calls within the party for both Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill to be sacked. According to reports, Hill irritated the Scottish Conservatives in particular. They complained of her excessive "interference" and of being told not to run a campaign too detached from the one run from London. Nevertheless, their leader Ruth Davidson chose to ignore the demand, to achieve a considerable increase in the number of Scottish MPs. This result was crucial in mitigating the loss of seats south of the border and appeared to question key elements of Hill and Timothy′s election strategy: within days, and in the face of the growing backlash, both chiefs of staff had resigned.
- Addley, Esther (12 December 2016). "Terrifying or tenacious: the power of Fiona Hill, Theresa May's closest ally". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- Kirkup, James. "Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy: the story being told about Theresa May's top advisers is inaccurate and unfair". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
- Hardman, Isabel. "Beware the aides of May! The people who'll really run the new government". The Spectator. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- Garavelli, Dani (13 May 2017). "Insight: Fiona Hill, from Scotsman reporter to Theresa May's right-hand woman". The Scotsman. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
- "BBC Politics Live – 14 July 2016". BBC News. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- McInerney, Laura. "Profiles: Nick Timothy". Schools Week. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- "Theresa May's Cabinet a triumph for state education and women as new Prime Minister sweeps away Cameron favourites in 'Day of the Long Knives'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- "Press Release: Downing Street political advisers". Gov.uk. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- Leadbetter, Russell (19 February 2017). "Profile: The former football reporter from Greenock now the Prime Minister's striker". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
- Pierce, Andrew. "The discreet affair between two of the Home Secretary's closest advisers which may be the REAL reason for her bitter split with Cabinet colleague Michael Gove over Islamic plot to take over schools". Daily Mail. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- "Who's who in Team Theresa May". BBC News. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- Parker, George; Vina, Gonzalo. "Inside Theresa May's office: late nights with a tight team". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- "Home Office Quietly Deletes Letter To Michael Gove on Islamic Extremism (But It's Still on Google)". buzzfeed.com. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- Helm, Toby; Boffey, Daniel; Mansell, Warwick (7 June 2014). "Furious Cameron slaps down Gove and May over 'Islamic extremism' row". The Observer. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Michael Gove apologises over 'Trojan Horse' row with Theresa May". BBC News. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2017.]
- "Team Members – Fiona Cunningham". Lexington Communications. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
Fiona joined the team at Lexington as a Director in 2015. She previously spent over four years at the Home Office working directly to the Home Secretary, Theresa May on a wide range of policies including organised crime, policing, counter terrorism, immigration and modern slavery. On behalf of the Home Secretary, Hill led the work which created a Modern Slavery Act. She also published her own report on modern slavery across the EU.
- Asthana, Anushka; Mason, Rowena (9 June 2017). "Tories say Theresa May must sack 'monsters who sunk our party'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
- Cochrane, Alan; Johnson, Simon (9 June 2017). "Ruth Davidson planning Scottish Tory breakaway as she challenges Theresa May's Brexit plan". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 June 2017.