A purpose-built studio that was built at no.10 Downing Street to televise conferences, was transformed into a movie screening theatre after hours costing taxpayers £2.6 million in a White House-style briefing room. The prime minter and his staff all attended the screening after working hours.
It was Daniel Craig’s last film playing the role of James Bond, “No Time to Die”, which was screened. It has been on general release since last month and is still available to watch in cinemas across the UK.
A statement was released from Number 10 Downing Street after the incident, “Yesterday the prime minister met with Pinewood Studios, Universal Pictures, Eon Productions and the BFI to congratulate them on the success of the latest James Bond installment – a testament to the talent of British creative industry. An evening film screening took place for staff, who made voluntary donations, with all proceeds going to Sarcoma UK.”
It had been believed that the costs of setting up this screening had been covered by the companies involved, but then it transpired to be funded by taxpayers’ money.
This event has been undisclosed and journalists from Westminster had been invited to number 10 Downing Street to perform briefings when they usually would have been conducting these at the studio in number 9 Downing Street. This studio in Number 9 Downing Street has also been developed by Boris Johnson with plans to hold daily news briefings to be televised. This has been labeled as a “vanity project” by opposing parties.
It seems that Boris Johnson is trying to imitate White House briefings, where the president gave daily televised briefings in the US media regarding the COVID19 pandemic. The TV appearances of the president elevated his popularity in the United States. For number 10 Downing Street, the plans to hold these daily briefings were scrapped.
Despite this, Allegra Stratton a journalist who was hired for these briefings was hired for £125,000 a year. As these briefings will no longer take place, she was given a new role as the lead spokeswoman for the COP26 climate change summit.
It has been revealed that the cost of creating a TV studio in number 9 Downing Street was £2,607,767.67, largely excluding VAT. The cost was revealed after there was a Freedom of Information (FoI) request put forward to the Cabinet Office this year. The huge costs of this studio has raised concerned over if it is a worthy investment as it is not being used on a regular basis, and that this money would be more beneficial being put towards the NHS and key workers. The first news conference to be televised from number 9 Downing Street after a period of 5 weeks without anything, was given by Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary discussing COVID 19. Boris Johnson insists that this studio is being used for COVID19 briefings on a national level.