Kate Marley

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Kate Marley has been Head of Government Affairs at Philip Morris UK & Ireland since July 2017.1
PMI informed newspaper The Guardian in October 2017 that Marley’s role was “to offer PMI’s support for the British government’s plan in its aim to encourage smokers to switch to less harmful products”.2

Revolving Door: Former Political Aide Turned Tobacco Lobbyist

Image 1 Cabinet Office’s decision regarding Marley’s new position with PM)

Marley worked for British Prime Minister David Cameron in several roles, from 2005 up to Cameron’s resignation in 2016:

  • Special Adviser to the Prime Minister (May 2015 – July 2016)
  • Special Adviser, Prime Minister’s Policy Unit (November 2013 – May 2015)
  • Private Secretary to Jo Johnson MP, Director of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit (June 2013 – October 2013)
  • Private Secretary to Oliver Letwin MP, Minister of State for Government Policy (October 2011 – May 2013)
  • Assistant Private Secretary to Prime Minister David Cameron (May 2010 – October 2011)
  • Personal Assistant to David Cameron when he was Leader of the Opposition (December 2005 – May 2010)

While working for Cameron, Marley was awarded the Order of the British Empire (MBE) ‘for public service’.34
Marley’s career move from her role as former aide to senior politicians to a tobacco company lobbyist, is a classic example of what we know as the revolving door.
Her employment with PMI was approved by the Cabinet Office on the conditions that she should not draw on privileged information, and that for two years she should not ‘lobby’ the UK Government on behalf of Philip Morris (see Image 1).5
As the section below shows, Marley breached at least one condition of the Cabinet’s Office decision when she lobbied on behalf of PMI at the Conservative Party conference. This is congruent with findings from the National Audit Office, which reported in July 2017 that government departments were “not consistently applying” the rules to stop civil servants taking jobs in the private sector and abusing their former position, and that it appeared that “the onus was on the former civil servants to comply with the Rules and any conditions placed on them”.6

Promoted PMI’s ‘Smoke-Free’ Narrative at UK Conservative Party Conference

In October 2017, Marley attended the British Conservative Party’s annual conference to promote PMI’s new smoke-free ambition, and help normalise the tobacco company and re-establish access to government decision makers that might hold influence over policies impacting its business.78
Marley was present at a large, prominently placed, PMI promotional stand (see images 2 and 3).

Image 2 PMI Stand at Conservative party conference (source: PR Week website)

Global Experience Specialists (GES), the event planning company behind the stand design, reflected on its website that the tobacco company had “wanted to communicate its new company shift and its mission to one day eliminate the harm caused by smoking cigarettes”. According to GES, PMI had sought to“create a space that caught the eye of government officials and encouraged further discussion”.9
Marley was quoted on the GES website as saying that the designed space had “suited the clean, fresh image to fit our PMI narrative”.

Image 3 PMI Stand at Conservative Party conference (source: GES website)

As part of PMI’s new smoke-free narrative, the tobacco company also committed US$80 million in 2017 to the establishment of a new research body ‘to accelerate the end to smoking’, led by Derek Yach.10 For more information on this organisation, and PMI’s involvement, visit the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.
Critics have called the initiative “the latest in PM’s corporate social responsibility PR efforts”.11

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Link

TCRG Research

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  1. K. Marley, LinkedIn Profile, Linkedin.com, undated, accessed January 2018
  2. J. Doward, Ex-Cameron aide in tobacco firm lobbying row, The Guardian, 21 October 2017, accessed January 2018
  3. J. Murphy, David Cameron gave ‘shameful’ pay rises of up to 24% to aides, Evening Standard, 30 August 2016, accessed January 2018
  4. Prime Minister’s Office, Dissolution Honours 2015, 27 August 2015, accessed January 2018
  5. Cabinet Office, Transparency information about outside appointments and employment taken up by former members of the Cabinet Office at SCS1 and SCS2 level and equivalents (including special advisers of equivalent standing), available at: www.gov.uk, undated, accessed January 2018
  6. National Audit Office, Investigation into government’s management of the Business Appointment Rules, NAO website, 19 July 2017, accessed January 2018
  7. Philip Morris International, Designing a Smoke-Free Future, PMI corporate website, undated, accessed January 2018
  8. S. Burne James, Policy calls, a hire from No. 10, free vapes: ‘alt tobacco’ lobby lights up Tory conference, PR Week, 3 October 2017, accessed January 2018
  9. GES, Conservative Party Conference 2017, undated, accessed January 2018
  10. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Global Foundation Launches to Accelerate An End To Smoking, Foundation’s website, 13 September 2017, accessed September 2017
  11. S. Glantz, Derek Yach’s journey to the Dark Side is now complete, UCSF blog, 12 September 2017, accessed January 2018