politics

Millions spent on Downing Street media room ‘not wasted’, minister insists


Downing Street spent £2.6 million adapting a room in No9 for TV press conferences complete with microphones, Union Jack flags, podiums, cameras and computers.

Ex-journalist Allegra Stratton had been poached from Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s office to head up the operation of fielding questions from reporters.

However, last night it emerged that Ms Stratton was instead moving to work on the COP26 climate change summit and the TV briefings were being scrapped.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the PM was “clearly running scared of scrutiny and questions about Tory sleaze and dodgy lobbying”.

She said the money should have gone towards giving NHS heroes a pay rise, instead of a “pointless vanity project”.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden was forced to defend the millions of pounds spent on the media room, insisting it was not a waste of money.

The Secretary of State told LBC: “I don’t think the money has been wasted in the sense that I’ve done a number of these press conferences from that room, it’s actually the state dining room in No10.

“It’s not used for much dining but it’s used for many many meetings. It’s not really fit for the modern media communications.

“So the investment that has been made to create that facility will be used by future governments. It’s pretty similar to what we see in many other countries around the world.”



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