It’s a tough gig defending this government. So tough in fact that the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson Allegra Stratton left the role before even giving a single press conference. The past week is a case in point – with No. 10 facing miserable headlines over the ongoing feud between Johnson, his fiancée Carrie Symonds and departed No. 10 aide Dominic Cummings.
Johnson has had to deny making a ‘bodies’ comment on Covid deaths while several inquiries are now underway as to how the funding for the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat first came about. Perhaps it’s little wonder then that these days ministers don’t seem overjoyed to be out on the airwaves – on Friday Victoria Atkins refused to be drawn on the issue
But there is one man who is emerging not just as the voice of government – but the great defender of both residents of the Downing Street flat. Step forward Zac Goldsmith. As others have proved none too forthcoming, Goldsmith is earning a reputation for coming out swinging for both Johnson and Symonds. The Defra minister appears to be a one man crisis comms team these days, being always quick off the mark to defend the No. 10 couple.
After three days of frenzied briefing and counterbriefing, it was understandable that last week’s Sunday papers would focus on the role played by onetime CCHQ comms director Carrie Symonds in the latest Downing Street melodrama.