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Adviser to walk out on Irvine.

Accident-prone legal chief Lord Irvine was dealt yet another blow yesterday.

To add to his troubles, the Lord Chancellor is set to lose his trusted adviser.

Sheila Thompson confirmed yesterday she was leaving her job as head of information at the Lord Chancellor's Department.

During her year with Lord Irvine, he has appeared to demonstrate a knack for generating bad publicity.

There was the storm over the pounds 650,000 refurbishment of his official residence in the House of Lords and him raiding priceless paintings from Scottish galleries.

He also called for tighter rules on privacy.

Then he compared himself to Henry VIII's all-powerful Lord Chancellor, Lord Wolsey.

Sheila would say little about the reasons for her decision to leave.

But the 47-year-old did say: "After seven and a half years at the Lord Chancellor's Department, it's time for a change."

She worked closely with Lord Irvine's Tory predecessor, Lord Mackay of Clashfern.

Under the previous government, she broke new ground by encouraging judges to help explain their more controversial rulings through the media.

And she improved the organisation of facilities for the Press at major trials such as that of Rose West.

Earlier this month Lord Irvine appointed Allan Percival, 47, to the newly created post of Director of Communications at the Lord Chancellor's Department.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 17, 1998
Words:216
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