Chris Grayling aide to advise Gavin Williamson at DfE

Exclusive: Department for Education says Richard Holden has been appointed as special adviser to new education secretary

Gavin Williamson has appointed a former aide to Chris Grayling as a special adviser.

Chris Grayling’s former special adviser has been appointed to advise new education secretary Gavin Williamson at the Department for Education.

Richard Holden, who is reported to have helped run Boris Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign, hit the headlines when he was cleared of sexual assault following a five-day trial last year.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr Holden worked for the Conservative Party for eight years after studying government and history at the London School of Economics, becoming deputy head of press in 2012.


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He has also served as a special adviser to the Conservative leader and chief whip in the House of Lords, and special adviser to Mr Williamson’s predecessor as defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon.

Last year, he faced a trial at Southwark Crown Court in London on a charge of what he described in a subsequent article for The Times as “over-the-clothing touching”, which he denied.

He was found not guilty by the jury, and in his article he outlined his concerns about how the police handled the case.

According to his article, following the not guilty verdict, the judge said: “Mr Holden leaves court without a stain on his character and I hope he can pick up his career where it left off.”

Last year he became a special adviser to transport secretary Chris Grayling.

During this period, Mr Grayling, who was nicknamed “failing Grayling” by his critics, came under fire for a failed contract to provide ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The New Statesman reported that Mr Holden took a leave of absence from his role at the Department for Transport to help run Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign.

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