Former journalist Allegra Stratton will lead the new daily TV news briefings for Issue 10, according to BBC sources.
Stratton – who has worked for ITV and the BBC and who is Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson – will become the government’s new press secretary.
Daily updates, similar to the format used by the White House in the United States, will begin next month.
Boris Johnson said the briefings would allow the public more direct engagement with the government.
The change comes after a series of televised Downing Street press conferences during the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, political journalists are able to interview the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson – who is a civil servant – off-camera on a daily basis.
These briefings are recorded, which means they can be cited and attributed to the spokesperson, who is never appointed. As part of the changes, briefings will take place in front of the camera.
Stratton’s role, however, is a political appointment by the Conservative Party, although as a special advisor her salary will be paid by the taxpayer.
BBC deputy political editor Vicki Young said the government wanted to deliver the briefings to “try to get their message across to viewers.”
But she said the idea was controversial because it wouldn’t be updates from an elected official.
After the plan was announced in July, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said he risked “upsetting the political discourse” and that it was “clearly a political decision”.
Labor said their leader would answer questions from the media at monthly press conferences, with a spokesperson saying Sir Keir “is not dodging tough questions and not hiding from the press”.
But Downing Street said ministers would make regular appearances at briefings led by Stratton.
Who is Allegra Stratton?
Stratton graduated from Cambridge University and began her journalistic career as a producer at the BBC.
She then became a political correspondent for the Guardian, before returning to the BBC as the political editor of Newsnight.
She left the BBC to become national editor of ITV News and co-featured Peston on Sunday.
But earlier this year, she left journalism to become Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s director of strategic communications.
When the post was advertised on the Conservative Party’s LinkenIn page, he said the salary would be “based on experience”, but the Daily Telegraph suggested it would likely be over £ 100,000 per year.
Stratton will be employed as a special adviser – a temporary class of officials authorized to give political advice to ministers.
This means that she will be free to attack opposition parties, as well as to expose the government’s position.
His daily briefings will take place in a redeveloped 9 Downing Street, which has been used in recent years by the Chief Whip and Brexit Secretary.