Boris Johnson to Introduce U.S. White House-Style Televised Daily Press Briefings

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives his daily COVID 19 press briefing at Downing Street on March 22, 2020 in London, England. Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Ian …
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LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says his government will introduce White House-style televised media briefings, in a shake-up to the traditional system of political communication.

For years, political journalists have been briefed off-camera but on the record by the prime minister´s official spokespeople, who are civil servants rather than political appointees. The briefings usually take place twice a day, though during the U.K.´s coronavirus lockdown they have been held once a day by conference call.

The government said Friday that it plans to replace the afternoon briefing with a televised event hosted by a professional broadcaster. The morning briefing will continue in the current format. The change will take effect later this year.

Johnson told LBC radio that the government´s daily televised coronavirus news conferences had been a success. The briefings involving ministers and scientists were held daily between March and late June.

“People have liked a more direct, detailed information from the government about what is going on,” Johnson said.

“We do think that people want direct engagement and want stuff from us, and so we´re going to have a go at that.”

Johnson said he would “pop up from time to time” at the briefings.

Viewers around the world are used to seeing televised White House briefings by the U.S. president´s press secretary, though these have become sporadic under the Trump administration.

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