Government mocked over lectern blunder in new £2.6m press briefing room

Ross McGuinness
·2 min read
Undated handout photo issued by ITV News of Downing Street's new White-House style media briefing room, following criticism that more than ??2.6 million had been spent on the renovations. Issue date: Monday March 15, 2021.
The new press briefing room in Downing Street, complete with Henry the vacuum cleaner on the right. (ITV/PA)

The controversial new Downing Street media briefing room has been unveiled - and it comes with a spelling blunder.

The government has faced criticism after it emerged earlier this month that the new press room came with a £2.6m price tag.

And now that the space has been unveiled to the world, many observers felt it wasn’t exactly money well spent.

The first images of the new room in Number 9 Downing Street were published by ITV News and the lectern took centre stage for all the wrong reasons.

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Because the words “Downing Street” on the lectern are obscured by a government seal, it reads instead: “DOW REET”.

Social media users were also quick to point out that a Henry vacuum cleaner managed to sneak into one of the images of the room.

The space has plain blue walls between wooden panelling, while the lectern is surrounded by four Union flags.

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, will field reporters’ questions in the room and act as the face of the government.

Undated handout photo issued by ITV News of Downing Street's new White-House style media briefing room, following criticism that more than ??2.6 million had been spent on the renovations. Issue date: Monday March 15, 2021.
The lectern in the new briefing room reads: 'Dow Reet'. (ITV/PA)

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “Given how much money Boris Johnson has thrown at his latest vanity project, we were expecting something a bit more impressive.

“The fact the government seems to have simply brushed this off with no further transparency or assurances on how they’re spending British taxpayer money is deeply concerning.”

A government spokesman said spending on the briefing room was in the public interest.

“The facilities within 9 Downing Street will be used for daily broadcasting by a number of news organisations requiring one-off capital works, including audio-visual equipment, internet infrastructure, electrical works and lighting,” the spokesman said.

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