Boris Johnson wants daily White House-style press briefings

Anna Mikhailova
The move is part of Boris Johnson's plan to significantly reduce the number of people working in government communications - PA
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Boris Johnson is to introduce daily White House-style press briefings in the autumn after the success of the coronavirus press conferences.

Under plans being considered by No 10, the sessions, hosted by an experienced broadcaster, would replace the off-camera afternoon briefings with political journalists, which are hosted by a senior civil servant.

It is understood the Prime Minister wants to build on the coronavirus press conferences, which were held daily until recently. The approach aimed to "introduce a culture of transparency and openness", a source told The Times.

The televised question and answer sessions would be held in No 9 Downing Street. There are plans to convert it into a media suite based on the White House briefing room. The plans will be in place in October, with Downing Street starting recruitment for a broadcaster to chair the sessions this month.

It is understood No 10 will still hold an off-camera lobby briefing in the morning hosted by James Slack, the Prime Minister's official spokesman.

The White House hosts daily press briefings, often held by the President's press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany - GETTY IMAGES

Meanwhile the Whitehall communications machine is to be revamped. No 10 aims to significantly reduce the number of people working in government communications to a team of 30, the Financial Times reported on Thursday night. There are thousands working across departments in communications.

Downing Street has also recruited an official photographer, it was reported. The UK Picture Editors' Guild, which represents newspapers and some agencies, wrote to Downing Street warning that press photographers are being "excluded from historic moments".

Earlier this year No 10 faced criticism after moving daily press briefings from Parliament to Downing Street. Newspaper editors signed a letter to Mr Johnson urging him to rethink the move amid concerns it would "create barriers to covering democracy".

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