Journalists staged a walkout from number 10 | Leon Neal/Getty Images
Westminster journalists stage Downing Street walkout
Reporters divided into two groups, with one allowed to stay and the other told to leave.
Updated 2/3/20, 7:54 PM CET
LONDON — Westminster political journalists walked out of 10 Downing Street today after a group of reporters was barred from a briefing with civil servants.
Political editors from several publications attended Downing Street for a briefing on Brexit but once inside they were divided by a security official into two groups — those invited and those not invited. Those not on the invite list were asked to leave, prompting those who had been invited to boycott the briefing in protest.
Reporters from the i newspaper, the Daily Mirror, HuffPostUK and the Independent were among those asked to leave. POLITICO was not invited to the briefing.
Senior journalists including the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, ITV’s Robert Peston and political journalists from Sky News, the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Sun, and the Financial Times were among those who boycotted the briefing.
Selective briefings by political aides are a common feature of Westminster news coverage, but civil servants are by convention non-political and technical briefings by them are typically open to all publications. The i newspaper quoted No 10’s director of communications, Lee Cain, as telling journalists present: “We are welcome to brief whoever we want.”
At a separate, regular daily briefing, the prime minister’s official spokesperson declined to comment on the incident.