Lobby and Media Briefings: Journalists' Access

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:12 pm on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip 1:12 pm, 4th February 2020

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to clarify this situation. This Government are committed to being open in their dealings with the press and to the principles of media freedom, and the events of yesterday were a good example of that. The Prime Minister delivered a speech on the future of the UK-EU relationship. He also took extensive questions from journalists. Following that, there was a further briefing for journalists by the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson, which was made available to any journalist who wanted it directly after the speech and was all on the record.

Lobby briefings typically take place twice a day. All those with a Press Gallery pass are able to attend these briefings and to question the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson however they wish. No journalists are barred from official media briefings hosted by the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson. It is entirely standard practice for the Government to host additional technical, specialist briefings, as was the case yesterday. This particular briefing, which the media have reported on, was an additional, smaller meeting due to be held by a special adviser in order to improve the understanding of the Government’s negotiating aims for the future relationship. I am delighted that there are so many right hon. and hon. Members here today who would also like to improve their understanding of such things.