Alex Deane

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Alex Deane is a former Director at public relations company Bell Pottinger, which has represented Imperial Tobacco.

Deane went on to lead the public affairs team at Weber Shandwick, before joining FTI Consulting.[1]

He is also an elected Common Councilman in the City of London.[1]


Conservative Party

Deane has been an active member of the 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. He is a regular writer for the ConservativeHome website. At one stage he was also a member of the management board of the Young Britons Foundation, the Conservative Party’s official youth wing.[2]

In 2007 Deane was asked to assist the election campaign of Australian Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister, John Howard, who sought to be re-elected.[1] 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.[3]

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, which makes them a stout promoter of the right to smoke in public areas. Like Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Deane is a current member of the advisory council of Big Brother Watch.

He also serves on the advisory board of privacy watchdog Privacy International, which produced a report on smoking and privacy in June 2011, paid for by pro-smoking group Forest.[4]

Deane also is a member of the council of the Freedom Association, which has links to Forest,[5] and an adviser to the Liberty League, a network for young libertarians.[6]

Opposing the 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).[7] 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.[8]

Between 2015 and 2016, Deane published two articles in The Telegraph strongly opposing the SDIL.[9][10] 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.[11]

PAST claims not to accept industry funding, instead financing its campaigns through donations, membership fees, and the selling of branded merchandise.[12]

Former board members include pro-smoking libertarian blogger Christopher Snowdon.[13]

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 FTI Consulting, Our People: Alex Deane, , undated, accessed January 2017
  2. R. Booth, 'Radicalised Tories ready to take on Labour's big guns', 6 March 2010, accessed May 2017
  3. J. Owens, Transparency call for Cameron strategist Lynton Crosby ‘to lance the boil’, PR Week, 22 July 2013, accessed January 2017
  4. S. Davies, Civil liberties: up in smoke, Privacy International, June 2011, accessed May 2017
  5. The Freedom Association, About Us: Council & Management Committee,, undated, accessed January 2017
  6. Liberty League, Advisers,, undated, accessed 13 June 2011
  7. People Against Sugar Tax, Executive Board, 2017, accessed May 2017
  8. S. Barber, Briefing Paper Number 7876: The Soft Drinks Industry Levy, House of Commons Library, 12 April 2017, accessed June 2017
  9. A. Deane, Jamie Oliver is a patronising bully and he can stick his sugar tax, The Telegraph, October 2015, accessed May 2017
  10. A. Deane, George Osborne’s sugar tax is control freakery that will only punish the poor, The Telegraph, 16 March 2016, accessed May 2017
  11. B. Whelan, A sugar tax? No thanks, People Against Sugar Tax, accessed October 2015
  12. People Against Sugar Tax, ‘About’, 2017, accessed June 2017
  13. People Against Sugar Tax, Executive Board, 2015, accessed October 2015