£2.6m Downing Street briefing room used for first time

(left to right) England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and England's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance in the new briefing room
(left to right) England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and England's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance in the new briefing room (PA Wire)
18:32pm, Mon 29 Mar 2021
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Boris Johnson addressed the nation for the first time from the £2.6 million media suite he has had installed in Downing Street – although a technical hitch meant some viewers could not hear him.

The Prime Minister, standing at a podium flanked by union flags, led a press conference as England took another step out of lockdown with the resumption of outdoor sport and limited socialising.

People watching the broadcast on the official Twitter account for the UK Prime Minister were unable to hear the first part of Mr Johnson’s opening address.

The No 10 YouTube channel was also silent for almost three minutes of the Prime Minister’s remarks.

One Twitter user said “I feel discriminated against” as “the only people able to ‘hear’ the PM’s statement were those able to understand BSL (British Sign Language)”.

Another remarked “would be helpful if there was audio”.

The media room in 9 Downing Street – which the PA news agency revealed had cost £2.6 million to install – will eventually be used to host regular White House-style press briefings.

Labour previously branded the hi-tech refurbishment a “vanity project”.

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