Facing calls to resign, the prime minister isn’t the only Cameron under scrutiny. It has emerged that his wife Samantha Cameron’s ‘special adviser’ Rosie Lyburn is paid £53,000 a year from the austerity-hit public purse for ‘fashion tips.’
Lyburn has also organized the party’s opulent Black and White annual fundraiser while an ‘events manager’ at Conservative HQ and is the grandchild of late Conservative grandee Lord Elliott of Morpeth.
The 28-year-old former ‘ethical model’ is married to Peter Lyburn, a one-time Scottish parliamentary candidate, who in 2010 contrived to lose the Tory party the Perth and North Perthshire constituency – considered to be the most winnable seat in Scotland at the time.
A Downing Street source told the Daily Mail Lyburn’s role was to “add a splash of style to Downing Street.”
The use of taxpayer money to fund such an arbitrary role at a time of severe austerity was enough to draw fire from even the most staunchly Blairite Labour politicians.
“I’ve just visited my local job center which has had a seven-year recruitment freeze,” MP Jess Phillips told the Daily Mail on Friday.
“I think when tough decisions have to be made I’m not sure that the wife of the prime minister needs a special adviser,” she added.
In a cringeworthy case of throwing stones in glass houses, however, right-wing Labour MPs may have spoken too soon. The Lyburn case closely echoes that of fitness guru and style adviser Carole Caplin – a close associate of Tony and Cherie Blair during the former’s time as PM and the so-called ‘Cheriegate’ scandal.
While working as an adviser to the power couple, Caplin came under scrutiny after it was alleged her associate, convicted conman Peter Foster, was involved in Cherie Blair’s purchase of two properties.
Blair tried to distance herself, lying that Foster was not involved. After being exposed she made a tearful public apology and blamed her miscalculation on the pressure of being a mother.
In 2015 Foster was arrested in Queensland for allegedly hiring a hitman to kill a private detective.