Downing Street has scrapped plans to launch new White House-style press conferences after spending £2.6m on a venue to host them. The room, used by Boris Johnson to host a Covid briefing on Tuesday, cost £2,607,767.67, largely excluding VAT as revealed by a Freedom of Information request from the Press Association. The plan, announced in July, had been to hold televised press conferences, similar to those seen in the US, hosted by the PM’s media chief Allegra Stratton but the room will now be used by the prime minister and officials. Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner accused Boris Johnson of “running scared of scrutiny” but a No 10 source told the BBC the current format of coronavirus press conferences had been “widely welcomed by the public” and they planned to continue with them to discuss both Covid and “government policy”.

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