Journalists stage mass walk-out after Downing Street bars critical reporters
Downing Street ordered senior journalists from some of the UK’s major news organisations to leave before a briefing on Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans – prompting a walkout by colleagues from across the media.
One of those present described Downing Street’s actions as ‘sinister and sad’. Selected journalists were invited to Number 10 for a briefing from officials, but correspondents from organisations who were not on Downing Street’s hand-picked list also tried to get in.
According to those present, when political correspondents arrived inside Number 10 they were asked their names and told to stand on opposite sides of the entrance hall – either side of a rug.
The Independent’s political editor Andy Woodcock said Number 10’s director of communications Lee Cain then invited those on one side to enter and told those on the other to leave.
Lobby correspondents – the political journalists based in Westminster – have also seen their regular briefings moved from Parliament to 9 Downing Street, raising fears about the prospect of Number 10 banning reporters.
A Number 10 source said the Prime Minister’s Europe adviser David Frost was due to speak to ‘senior, specialist members of the lobby’ – a so-called ‘inner lobby’.
The source added: ‘We reserve the right to brief journalists which we choose whenever we wish to, and that is not something abnormal.’
Read more here.