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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Britain's most expensive cinema screen

In some ways it is reassuring that the extravagant £2.6m Downing Street briefing room is getting some use, but is it really appropriate to turn it into a private cinema for the Prime Minister and his entourage, especially when he is still using No. 10 Downing Street for lobby briefings?

The Guardian says that Boris Johnson attended a screening of the new James Bond film 'No Time To Die' in this room after work hours on Thursday. It transpires that other films have been screened here as well and, although costs are met through voluntary donations and by donors, that does not detract from the fact that a room paid for by taxpayers for a specific purpose has now become and unofficial cinema rather than the briefing space it was intended to be.

As the paper says, the renovation of this premises took place under plans to hold daily televised media conferences at the venue, to be led by former journalist Allegra Stratton, who was appointed as the prime minister’s press secretary. But in April it emerged the plans had been scrapped amid concerns about the “political risk” involved, and Stratton was moved to become a spokeswoman for the Cop26 climate summit.

It is a vanity exercise and in no way a proper use of public money.
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