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06 January 2020

NMA Urges No 10 To Consult With Lobby On Government Briefing Changes

The News Media Association has urged Number 10 Downing Street to consult with political journalists in the parliamentary lobby on changes to briefings which could weaken media access to Government.   

The chairman of the lobby Christopher Hope, The Daily Telegraph chief political correspondent and assistant editor, has written to No 10 director of communications Lee Cain expressing concern over the changes.

The lobby says the changes, moving daily briefings for journalists by the Prime Minister's spokesperson from the House of Commons to 9 Downing Street, will make it harder for journalists to attend the briefings and could pave the way for the current or any future administration to refuse access to journalists it may not approve of.

In a statement, the NMA said: “The NMA represents the interests of the national and regional news media industry in the UK. 

“We have a long history of working with the regional lobby on events such as Ministerial lunches and on media facilities and access issues affecting national newspaper and agency photographers working in Westminster. 

“We urge No 10 to consult with the lobby committee before implementing any changes to a system which is effective and well understood by all parties.

“Political journalists in Westminster perform a vital role scrutinising authority on behalf of the public. It is vital that any reforms to the lobby system enhance and improve media access rather than damaging press freedom.”