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A Government source has said Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s communications director Allegra Stratton will be appointed as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokeswoman for televised briefings. However Downing Street has not yet commented on the appointment. So who is Allegra Stratton?
Who is Allegra Stratton?
Allegra Stratton, 39, has been appointed as Downing Street’s new press secretary after a stint of working for Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Ms Stratton is a British journalist who was the national editor for ITV News from January 2016 to April 2020.
She also served as political editor on BBC Newsnight for four years.
Ms Stratton first appeared on ITV’s News at Ten in January 2016.
She also co-presented Peston on Sunday, ITV with Robert Peston until May 2018.
In April 2020, she left ITV News to become Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Director of Strategic Communications at the Treasury.
Ms Stratton is married to James Forsyth, who is the political editor of The Spectator magazine.
The Prime Minister has been looking for an adviser to give on-the-record White House-style briefings to the press to take part on camera.
Downing Street did not comment but a source told PA Ms Stratton will be appointed to the role.
Mr Johnson has been addressing the nation more than ever over the past year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The PM began giving weekly press conferences as lockdown began, updating the nation on the number of cases and continued battle against the virus.
Since July No 10 have been looking for someone to “communicate with the nation on behalf of the Prime Minister”.
Unlike an impartial civil servant, the politically-appointed special adviser will be able to take aim at opponents and defend the Government’s actions.
And opposed to other influential figures in Downing Street, such as Mr Johnson’s chief aide Dominic Cummings and communications director Lee Cain, the spokeswoman will operate in the public eye.
Ms Stratton has long been a favourite for the new role with No 10, with Downing Street having been impressed by her abilities.
The political reporters based in Parliament – known as the lobby – currently have twice daily briefings with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman, or his deputy. They are both civil servants.
The briefings are on the record, so journalists can quote them, but they are not broadcast.
However, under proposals set out earlier this year, Ms Stratton will face the cameras at 9 Downing Street during afternoon sessions.
In response to the move from Downing Street, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer began plans for monthly press conferences.
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