Alex Deane

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Alex Deane is a senior managing director at the London office of public relations (PR) firm FTI Consulting, which has a long history of working with the tobacco industry.1
Before joining FTI Consulting, Deane worked for PR firms Weber Shandwick and Bell Pottinger, which both represented tobacco companies. 2
Deane was an elected Common Councilman in the City of London from 2011 to 2017.3


British Conservative Party

Deane has been an active member of the British Conservative Party since 1995.
In 2004-2005 he was Chief of Staff to Tim Collins and David Cameron during their respective periods as Shadow Secretaries of State for Education. Up to July 2016, he regularly wrote for the ConservativeHome website.4
Deane has also previously been a member of the management board of the Young Britons Foundation, the Conservative Party’s official youth wing.56
In 2007 Deane was asked to assist the election campaign of Australian Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister, John Howard, who sought re-election.7

Libertarian Groups

Additional affiliations put Deane in a network of libertarians and pro-smoking groups.
Deane was a founding director of Big Brother Watch, a right-of-centre libertarian pressure group opposing intrusions into civil liberties, and promoter of the right to smoke in public areas.
Deane also is a member of the council of the Freedom Association8, which has links to Forest, and is an adviser to the Liberty League, a network for young libertarians.9

Opposing Sugar Tax

Since August 2015, Deane served on the executive board of People Against Sugar Tax (PAST), a self-styled grassroots campaign against the UK soft drinks industry levy (SDIL).10 The SDIL, which is set to take effect in April 2018, is a levy on sugar-sweetened beverages, the revenues of which are earmarked for school breakfast clubs and school sports activities to help fight childhood obesity.11
Between 2015 and 2016, Deane published two articles in The Telegraph strongly opposing the SDIL.1213 At the centre of Deane’s arguments against the SDIL, and that of PAST, is the assertion that the SDIL is a paternalistic ‘nanny state’ intervention which will fail to reduce obesity, and disproportionately affects the poor.14
PAST claims not to accept industry funding, instead financing its campaigns through donations, membership fees, and the selling of branded merchandise.15
Former board members include pro-tobacco libertarian blogger Christopher Snowdon.16

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  1. R. Muir, Deane gets senior managing director gig at FTI Consulting, Public Affairs News, 4 January 2018, accessed January 2018
  2. A. Deane, Linkedin Profile, undated, accessed January 2018
  3. FTI Consulting, Our People: Alex Deane, FTI Consulting website, undated, accessed January 2018
  4. A. Deane, Respected, principled and knowledgeable- David Davis should lead the Brexit negotiations,, 5 July 2016, accessed January 2018
  5. R. Booth, ‘Radicalised Tories ready to take on Labour’s big guns’, 6 March 2010, accessed January 2018
  6. S. Usborne, Conservative bullying scandal: How the ‘Tatler Tory’ Mark Clarke tried to take over the City of London, The Independent, 11 December 2015, accessed January 2018
  7. Previous Liberal Party campaigns had been led by political strategist Lynton Crosby, who later became embroiled in a Plain Packaging political row in the UK. For more information on this controversy, visit our page on Crosby.
    Deane defended Crosby’s role in the affair, telling PR Week that he had worked with Crosby before and that Crosby gave the Conservative Party “focus and edge”, suggesting that Crosby should take “a leave of absence” to focus wholly on the Conservative Party, and for transparency reasons, declare his agency’s clients.17J. Owens, Transparency call for Cameron strategist Lynton Crosby ‘to lance the boil’, PR Week, 22 July 2013, accessed January 2018
  8. The Freedom Association, Council & Management Committee, TFA website, undated, accessed January 2018
  9. Liberty League, Advisers, (no longer active), undated, accessed 13 June 2011
  10. People Against Sugar Tax, Executive Board, 2017, accessed May 2017
  11. S. Barber, Briefing Paper Number 7876: The Soft Drinks Industry Levy, House of Commons Library, 12 April 2017, accessed June 2017
  12. A. Deane, Jamie Oliver is a patronising bully and he can stick his sugar tax, The Telegraph, October 2015, accessed May 2017
  13. A. Deane, George Osborne’s sugar tax is control freakery that will only punish the poor, The Telegraph, 16 March 2016, accessed May 2017
  14. B. Whelan, A sugar tax? No thanks, People Against Sugar Tax, accessed October 2015
  15. People Against Sugar Tax, ‘About’, 2017, accessed June 2017
  16. People Against Sugar Tax, Executive Board, 2015, accessed October 2015