Race to become face of UK televised press briefings narrows

Race to become face of Boris Johnson’s new daily White House-style televised press briefings narrows to two – and is set to be decided by a ‘chemistry test’

  • Former ITV presenter Allegra Stratton is on the final shortlist after interviews
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to interview two candidates soon
  • Ms Stratton quit ITV news to join Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Treasury operation 

The competition to become the face of Boris Johnson’s new daily White House-style televised press briefings is now a two-horse race – with the Prime Minister set to use a ‘chemistry test’ to decide the successful candidate.

Former ITV presenter Allegra Stratton, who works as Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s director of communications, is on the final shortlist following a day of interviews and screen tests at No 10 on Friday. 

The Prime Minister is expected to interview Ms Stratton and the other candidate for the six-figure salaried position – a ‘left-field’ BBC presenter, according to sources – to test their personal ‘chemistry’.

Former ITV presenter Allegra Stratton (pictured), who works as Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s director of communications, is on the final shortlist following a day of interviews and screen tests at No 10 on Friday

Downing Street hopes to start the new briefings later next month.

Ms Stratton, a 39-year-old mother-of-two, quit ITV News to join Mr Sunak’s increasingly powerful Treasury operation this year.

The Cambridge University graduate, who is married to James Forsyth, the political editor of The Spectator, has been the favourite since No 10 said that it was introducing the afternoon TV briefings as part of a bid to communicate more directly with voters.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) is expected to interview Ms Stratton and the other candidate for the six-figure salaried position – a ‘left-field’ BBC presenter, according to sources – to test their personal ‘chemistry’

Mr Johnson has declared himself to be ‘impressed’ by Ms Stratton, and recently invited her to join him at Chequers.

Downing Street has struggled to attract a wide field of experienced broadcasters to apply for the job because of the lavish pay packets of the television industry – and the risk they will become the public face of the Government’s pratfalls.

The new briefings will take place in a revamped No 9 Downing Street, which is currently being turned into a media centre.

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