David Cameron’s Suffolk speechwriter made a CBE in resignation honours

Tim Kiddell CBE, private secretary (speechwriter) to the Prime Minister addressing a conference of y

Tim Kiddell CBE, private secretary (speechwriter) to the Prime Minister addressing a conference of young people in Downing Street - Credit: Archant

David Cameron’s speechwriter who grew up in Suffolk has spoken of his delight at being recognised in the former prime minister’s resignation honours.

Tim Kiddell, whose late father Rod was a former editor of the East Anglian Daily Times and Evening Star, has been made a CBE following the former premier’s resignation in June.

The former Ipswich School student started working in Downing Street in 2008, aged 28, writing speeches for the then Labour prime minister Gordon Brown. He continued in the role for Mr Cameron and remained in post after the new prime minister Theresa May moved into Number 10.

A Cambridge University graduate and former Kings College choral scholar, he joined the civil service after leaving university. Before moving to Downing Street the Ipswich-born civil servant wrote speeches for former Labour cabinet ministers Alan Johnson and David Blunkett.

Mr Kiddell, who is now 36, said that being made a CBE was an “incredible honour” and “deeply humbling”,

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“I never expected it and it is not why you do the job. I love doing this job, I still love doing it. I just didn’t expect it. You see lots of people speculating about what is going to happen and it didn’t cross my mind.”

“It is an incredible apprenticeship being close to a leader of a country and being able to serve and support them and see them make big decisions, and to be part of their team and working with them. You build a close working relationship and that is part of the privilege of working here. The truth about speech writing is that the prime minister - and I mean that whoever is in office - is always the best speech writer themselves. But they are running the country and you want them to be as time efficient as possible in the time they spend writing their speeches so they can spend time making decisions that affect the future of the nation. I have this opportunity as a speech writer to spend some time with the prime minister and understand what they want to say and try and capture their voice and articulate that, and that is what I have been doing and continue to do.”

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Mr Kiddell, who went to St John’s Church of England Primary School before going to Ipswich prep school, said he had always enjoyed writing. His appreciation of the potential of politics to serve others could be traced back to his childhood as the son of the local newspaper editor, he said, adding that his father would have been very happy about his achievement. While he lives in London he continues to return to Suffolk to see his mother Judy.

While Mr Cameron’s resignation honours list includes a number of civil servants, it has been controversial after a raft of the prime minister’s political allies have been given gongs. Former chancellor George Osborne, defence secretary Michael Fallon and Patrick McLoughlin have all been named.

The Chancellor of the University of Essex Shami Chakrabarti, a former director of Liberty, has also been nominated for a peerage by the Labour Party.

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