Boris Johnson seeking spokesperson to front new televised daily Downing Street briefings
PUBLISHED: 08:57 29 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:01 29 July 2020
Boris Johnson is believed to be seeking a new spokesperson for his new ‘White Houst style’ press briefings, with the position’s salary reported to be worth more than £100,000-a-year.
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According to the Daily Telegraph, applicants are required to email “a statement of suitability” alongside their CV to Number 10’s director of communications Lee Cain by August 21, and must undergo a security clearance.
While the salary for the position is advertised as being “based on experience”, the paper reports Whitehall sources expect the successful applicant to earn more than £100,000-a-year.
The advert, from the Conservative Party, reportedly says: “The successful candidate will become a trusted political adviser to the prime minister and member of the senior team at Downing Street, reporting into the prime minister’s director of communications.
“You will represent the government and the prime minister to an audience of millions on a daily basis, across the main broadcast channels and social media, and have the chance to influence and shape public opinion.
“You will speak directly to the public on the issues they care most about, explaining the government’s position, reassuring people that we are taking action on their priorities and driving positive changes.”
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According to the listing, which has been seen by the paper, the successful applicant would need to be “an experienced and confident media operator who would enjoy working on camera and with senior ministers, political advisers, officials and journalists; who would relish the challenge and pace of televised briefings, and who has a strong grasp of foreign and domestic policy issues”.
The spokesman is expected to front daily televised press briefings, and by being a political appointment – rather than a civil servant – will be able to attack Labour and other opposition parties as well as set out the government’s position.
The afternoon session will be filmed at 9 Downing Street, while the morning briefing will continue to be held behind closed doors.
Johnson has defended the proposals, saying they built on the experience of the coronavirus press conference which gave people “more direct, detailed information from the government”.
But Labour leader Keir Starmer said that it risks “unbalancing the political discourse”.
Whoever gets the role will swiftly become a major figure in public life as the voice of the government.
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.
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