The Speaker
Saturday, 25 May 2024 – 21:29

Journalists boycott Downing Street press briefing

Journalists walked out of a Downing Street press briefing on Monday after the Prime Minister’s director of communications attempted to restrict the briefing to only certain publications and broadcasters.

The briefing was regarding the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans, in particular, plans to negotiate a Canadian-style free trade agreement with the European Union.

On arrival at Downing Street, the journalists were split into two groups, with one group being asked to leave. The events resulted in all the journalists refusing to take part in the briefing and leaving 10 Downing Street.

The events have been heavily criticised, including by Labour’s Shadow culture, media and sport secretary Tracy Brabin, who said;

“Press freedom is a cornerstone of our democracy and journalists must be able to hold the government to account. It is concerning that Boris Johnson seems to be resorting to tactics imported from Donald Trump to hide from scrutiny.

“The future trade agreement with the European Union is an issue of great public importance and interest. Those gaining access to such important information should not be cherry-picked by No 10.”

The attempts to block out some journalists were also criticised in the House of Commons and on social media.

Tensions have been increasing between Downing Street and the media in recent weeks, with ministers being banned from appearing on BBC Radio 4s Today programme. During the election, the Conservatives refused to attend multiple interviews and debates, and dropped out of others.

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