Number 10 Spokesman: Runners and Riders

As Guido has discussed for weeks, Number 10 are seeking an “experienced broadcaster” to front its daily Downing Street briefings, a UK version of the highly visible US White House Press Secretaries. This morning the Telegraph revealed the job advert and its £100,000 salary. Guido brings you the runners and riders…

  • Allegra Stratton
    • Four years apiece as national editor of ITV News and political editor of BBC Newsnight. Currently Rishi Sunak’s Director of Strategic Communications and married to James Forsyth, political editor of The Spectator. Safe hire, bonus points for gender.
  • Julie Etchingham
    • Presenter and reporter for ITV News at Ten, ITV Tonight & Exposure. Received praise over her moderation of ITV’s 2019 election debate – although Number 10 was not happy with the number of times she interrupted Boris…
  • Angus Walker
    • Former ITV News Correspondent. Currently an education SpAd. A loyal choice
  • Guto Harri
    • Former Communications Director to Boris when he was mayor. Background of 18 years as a journalist at the BBC. Is he still trusted by Boris?
  • Tom Bradby
    • Knows the Lobby well as former political editor for ITV News for ten years. Currently presents ITV News at Ten so is used to the spotlight. Might find it hard to reconcile views to the job…
  • Jane Hill
    • One of the best-known faces on BBC News. Once worked at the US Democratic Party’s National Headquarters in Washington, for Senate Democrats. Useful to reach out to the Lobby…
  • Dermot Murnaghan
    • Has worked for the BBC, ITN, Channel 4, and Sky News. Would be able to deftly deal with broadcasters. Anchored Sky’s election results in programme 2019.
  • Iain Dale
    • Experienced broadcaster with the quick-wittedness needed for the role. Former Tory candidate who worked for David Davis’ leadership campaign. Although Dale has often cited how he has voted for four different parties in recent years…
  • Niall Paterson
    • Has the experience. Being Scottish is a bonus…
  • Tom Newton-Dunn
    • Said to be keen. Not a chance.

Our own ‘Tom Off the Telly’ still insists he doesn’t want the job. Place your bets here…

mdi-timer 29 July 2020 @ 16:42 29 Jul 2020 @ 16:42 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Guido Wins: Televised Lobby Briefings Coming

Guido has won a big victory against the Lobby today, breaking open the Lobby’s preferred closed-style of briefings from Downing Street. The Government will televise the afternoon briefing sessions with journalists from No. 9:

“Afternoon Lobby sessions with journalists will be televised from Downing Street. Officials have also been told of plans to dramatically reduce the government’s communications operation

Boris Johnson has clearly listened to the argument for “a culture of transparency and openness’’ in Westminster by backing the broadcasting of the afternoon press briefings and reducing the number of spin doctors across Whitehall. After the success of the televised Covid briefings, Lee Cain plans to continue the on-camera afternoon government briefings. The role will be filled by a political appointee…

Expect an experienced broadcaster to get the job. No 9 Downing Street – where off-camera press briefings are currently held – will be turned into a modern media studio for briefings. A Downing Street source says: “For too long we’ve been running an analogue system in a digital age. People want to hear directly what the government is doing and to see it being held to account…”

The whole of government communications is being overhauled by Alex Aiken, the Executive Director for Government Communications – it will see departments ordered to reduce the 4,000 spin doctors employed by the government. Aiken and Cain believe the changes will lead to smaller, more agile communications operation. Officials have also been told of plans to plans to drastically reduce the government’s communications operation and the number of press officers across Whitehall. Guido’s happy that a decade-long campaign for government briefings unfiltered by Lobby journalists has finally been won…

See Guido’s case for televising the briefings: Live Stream the ‘People’s Briefings’ from Downing Street

mdi-timer 2 July 2020 @ 23:12 2 Jul 2020 @ 23:12 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Lobby Try Politicising Civil Servants, End Up Looking Silly

Another daily briefing, another attempt by the Lobby’s titans last night to keep the flame of the Cummings saga alive. At the Downing Street briefing they tried to drag boffins Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty into the row by asking them questions about Dominic Cummings. Boris demurred from allowing such questions. Outraged tweets garnered tens of thousands of shares…

Following the third attempt by Sam Coates – after Kuenssberg and Peston had a go – the boffins gave the Lobby’s finest a basic schooling in Civil Service conventions. Truth twisting tweets that there was a gagging order from Boris were soon shown to be hollow claims, it was just the conventional reluctance by Civil Servants to get drawn into politics. The boffins themselves made clear they had no desire to get dragged into the Lobby’s games. Be in no doubt that if they had commented in a less than hostile manner to Cummings, these same Lobby titans would be outraged at “Boris politicising Civil Servants”. The perils of realtime punditry were apparent when Whitty made their tweets look idiotic, seconds after they were sent, when he spoke for himself.

They were made to look like muppets with their tweets because of their collective desire to be ‘first’ telling us what we can see and hear with our own eyes – most interested people are actually watching the briefing. You can see why the Lobby don’t want to televise normal briefings…

mdi-timer 29 May 2020 @ 09:05 29 May 2020 @ 09:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Lobby Chairman Allows Filming of No. 10 Briefing

Guido’s campaign to get the daily No. 10 briefings filmed is clearly gathering pace – albeit with baby steps. Sky News broadcast Lobby Chairman Jason Groves allowing part of a briefing with the No. 10 spokesman to be filmed – something he’s been dead against thus far. Technically Guido thinks he is in breach of Lobby rules, so he will have to have a word with himself. It’s not the first time during this pandemic that senior journalists have opened up to the possibility of more transparent press briefings…

mdi-timer 15 May 2020 @ 11:29 15 May 2020 @ 11:29 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Little Britain’s Press Pack Prophecy

Before we get to today’s Daily Government Briefing, Guido thought this brilliantly clairvoyant skit from Little Britain was worth a share. Over a decade on, Matt Lucas playing a member of the lobby asking questions no one wants the answer to is spookily close to real life…

mdi-timer 28 April 2020 @ 16:46 28 Apr 2020 @ 16:46 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
No. 10 Give Up On Lobby Hacks, Ask Public to Submit Questions

Guido’s spent much of this pandemic covering the Lobby’s shoddy performance in covering Coronavirus, and in Saturday’s Guido Talks observed Matt Hancock had taken away the opportunity to ask follow-up questions at the Daily Briefings as No. 10 lose patience with the media’s attempted gotcha attempts. Today the Government has gone further and launched a new initiative asking the public to submit the questions they actually want answering. Think you can do better than Peston, Beth etc.? Submit your questions here…

At the start of this crisis, No. 10 offered an olive branch to the Lobby and tries to broker a peace deal – it seems the entente cordiale has broken down… 

mdi-timer 27 April 2020 @ 11:12 27 Apr 2020 @ 11:12 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Previous Page Next Page