Boris Johnson used £2.6m Downing Street briefing room to watch new Bond film

보리스 존슨 used his White House-style press briefing room, which cost the taxpayer £2.6m, to enjoy a screening of the new James Bond film with No 10 staff.

It was understood the prime minister attended the screening of No Time To Die at No 9 Downing Street after work hours on Thursday.

Lobby briefings with Westminster’s political journalists instead took place in a room in No 10 that day, as well as on Friday.

A No 10 spokesperson said: “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 instalment – a testament to the talent of the British creative industry.

An evening film screening took place for staff, who made voluntary donations, with all proceeds going to Sarcoma UK.”

All installation costs were said to have been met by the companies involved, and that similar screenings have happened previously.

The PA news agency revealed in March, through a Freedom of Information Act request, the refurbishments to the former courtroom in No 9 had cost the taxpayer £2.6m.

The renovations took place under plans to hold daily televised media conferences at the venue, and 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.

Labour attacked the controversial transformation a “pointless vanity project” and said the money should have been spent giving a pay rise to NHS workers. The opposition also accused Johnson of “running scared of scrutiny”.

Johnson and his cabinet ministers have since used the room mainly for national coronavirus briefings.

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