Editors Call On PM To Review Lobby Changes

Editors have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to review changes to the way Government briefs lobby journalists in Westminster which could damage freedom of the press and curtail scrutiny of the administration.

The News Media Association is supporting the lobby in its bid to open discussions with No 10 over the changes, in particular the move to hold a key daily Government briefing in Downing Street rather than the Houses of Parliament.

In a letter to No 10 director of communications Lee Cain, lobby chairman Christopher Hope warned that the changes would “severely damage” the ability of smaller publications to report on the activities of Government.

Now, in an open letter organised by the Society of Editors, signed by every national newspaper editor and several regional and broadcast editors, editors ask the Prime Minister for assurances that the new system will not be used to deny individual correspondents access to the briefings.

In the letter, the editors said: “While the industry welcomes moves by the government to provide access to more of the administration’s advisors, there are real concerns the changes in their present form will hamper the workings of a free press.

“I would hope that a government that has spoken of supporting a free press and freedom of expression will be prepared to consult further on how the lobby system can be changed without damaging the important role the media has in scrutinising the workings of Parliament.”