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Jo Moore (born 1963) served as a British special adviser and press officer. 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, and by the early 1990s she had become the Labour Party's chief press officer. Moore then 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, and was appointed by Stephen Byers, initially part-time, as a Special Adviser, from 17 February 1999.
9/11 email scandal
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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 changes to the system of Councillors Allowances. Nearly a month later, Moore's email was leaked to the press where it provoked opprobrium disgrace 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".[attribution needed] 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 resigned on 15 February 2002 after Downing Street called on Transport Secretary Stephen Byers to get the continuing Whitehall spin row "sorted out". It was reported that Martin Sixsmith also resigned and it appeared that this is what Richard Mottram the Permanent Secretary had told the media and that Stephen Byers had wanted, but he had not resigned.
- "These Unfortunate Events" - report of the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Administration.