Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is planning to hold press conferences in a bid to counter the expected start of the televised Downing Street briefings, the party has confirmed.
The Daily Telegraph reported that televised question and answer sessions with the media will begin next month, when Number 10 is thought to want to begin its White House-style briefings.
According to the paper, Sir Keir will hold monthly press conferences at Labour’s headquarters or a nearby hotel, and they will be open to all journalists, coronavirus rules permitting.
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The Telegraph said the idea was part of a wider strategy to build a public profile for Sir Keir, who succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader earlier this year.
In July, Downing Street began searching for a spokesperson to hold daily televised briefings on the government’s activities and to ‘communicate with the nation on behalf of the prime minister’.
Unlike other influential figures within Downing Street, such as the prime minister’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings and communications director Lee Cain, they will operate in the public eye rather than behind the scenes.
Lobby correspondents, the political reporters based in the Houses of Parliament, currently have twice daily briefings with the prime minister’s official spokesman or his deputy, who are both civil servants.
The briefings are on the record, meaning they can be quoted and attributed to Number 10, but are not broadcast.
Under proposals set out earlier this year, the afternoon sessions will be filmed at 9 Downing Street, while the morning briefing will continue to be held behind closed doors.