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Can Allegra Stratton make No 10’s farcical briefings fit for TV?

As the prime minister’s first White House-style press secretary, her job will be to defend the indefensible, writes Tom Peck 

Sunday 11 October 2020 12:23
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Ex-journalist Stratton is well liked
Ex-journalist Stratton is well liked

The morning after Allegra Stratton was named as the government’s new press secretary, the job that she will shortly be doing on live television took place, as it has done almost every morning for decades, off camera.

The daily briefing to Westminster journalists, which is undertaken by the prime minister’s official spokesperson and his staff, regularly descends into farce, and Friday morning was absolutely no exception.

Not so much rumours as near certain facts swirl that whole swathes of northern England are days, if not hours, away from being placed into what will amount to a second lockdown, with the likely exception of schools and nurseries. Countless local northern mayors and council leaders have spoken publicly, claiming to have been told nothing about any of it.

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