New Number 10 press secretary ends Boris Johnson's war with media

Allegra Stratton, Boris Johnson's former press secretary

Allegra Stratton, Boris Johnson's former press secretary - Credit: PA

Number 10's new press secretary has ended Boris Johnson's war with the media, days after the dramatic departure of advisers Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings walked out of Downing Street.

Allegra Stratton told a Westminster briefing that Boris Johnson believed the press had played a “powerful role” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cain, a former Mirror chicken, had been blamed for Downing Street's assault on the media, which culminated in a walkout by senior members of the lobby – the reporters covering Westminster – after journalists from some outlets were banned from a briefing on UK-EU trade talks.

It marks a significant shift in attitude towards the media after a Number 10 spokesman claimed in April that “public confidence in the media has collapsed” during the crisis.

Asked about the comments, Stratton said: “The prime minister as a former journalist I think has spoken publicly about the positive role the media has played during this pandemic in spreading information about what we need people to do, to observe social distancing and so on.

“And indeed inside the building, quite often the prime minister can be heard saying he’s seen such and such a TV broadcast, it’s very powerful, what are we doing about a particular issue.

“So it is certainly my understanding that the prime minister believes the media has had a very good and powerful role during the pandemic so far.”

Stratton will front White House-style televised press conferences from Downing Street which are expected to start next year.

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