ANDREW PIERCE: Allegra Stratton's & # 39; West Wing & # 39; briefings pull the plug

Today would be the day political history would be made with the debut of the West Wing-style government's first press secretary.

The appointment of Allegra Stratton, a veteran print and radio journalist, as the face and voice of No. 10, who would hold weekly television briefings to a live audience of political reporters, made headlines when it was announced last year.

A special studio was built and dummy runs were conducted with No. 10 employees masquerading as press corps. For maximum impact, her first appearance was scheduled to top the early evening TV news.

Allegra Stratton was scheduled to debut as White House-style press secretary No. 10 for daily briefings but was postponed until the end of the national lockdown

Inspired by the White House's daily press conferences, the innovation was seen as a way for the Prime Minister and his cabinet to get their message across directly to both the public and the press.

But for the past week, Downing Street got a shock and has now postponed the start at least until the end of the national lockdown.

It was felt that in times of crisis, in addition to government doctors and scientists, the prime minister and senior ministers should address the public and answer journalists' questions via video links.

This is undoubtedly a huge disappointment for the ambitious and influential Stratton, 40, who was Chancellor Rishi Sunak's highly effective chief communications strategist until she was poached by Boris Johnson.

"There was a view that we were apparently trying to glorify or get into showbiz a very serious story, Covid," a senior government source said last night.

Another insider suggested an ulterior motive: “It's likely that Allegra would be very good; She was going to become a household name and face very quickly, and that could upset certain ministers' noses.

It's a mess, Boris

Veteran broadcaster and Labor peer Joan Bakewell has been a little upset with Boris lately – but not for reasons you might think. “You are the Prime Minister: you are making an important announcement to your country. Then brush your hair! & # 39; Quite.

A weeping shame for Labor

Former Home Secretary for Labor Lord Blunkett has found out why his party lost its northern heartland.

"I've spoken to people who went to the polling booth in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire and cried when they put their cross on the Conservative candidate," he said.

“Well, that's our fault for making people cry when they vote against you, an indictment against the political party I love and of which I've been a member for over 55 years.

"We have to look at ourselves and the urban nature of our party." Sir Keir Starmer is Labour’s third consecutive leader to come from or to represent a constituency in North London.

Alan Johnson admits he is still haunted by the New Year's resolution he made almost 50 years ago to learn to play the piano. "That was in 1972 and many more lessons from different teachers. Later on, I'm at level two on a skill level that starts at level one," the former Interior Minister for Labor told Saga magazine. "So it's easy to determine my highest resolution for 2021 – sell the bloody piano."

Home Secretary congratulatory letters are sent to recipients of British citizenship unless they are not from the Home Secretary.

Sajid Javid's name and signature appear on the letters despite leaving the role in 2019 and leaving the cabinet entirely in 2020 following a dispute with No. 10.

"I may no longer be Home Secretary, but I'm still delighted to have you as a British citizen," he joked.

Sajid Javid's name and signature appear in letters congratulating people on becoming British citizens - despite leaving the role of Home Secretary in 2019

Sajid Javid's name and signature appear in letters congratulating people on becoming British citizens – despite leaving the role of Home Secretary in 2019

The 12th Duke of Beaufort, Henry Somerset, known to his friends as Bunter, said last year that only his terror against "Marxist" labor leader Jeremy Corbyn and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell kept him in the Conservative Party. But they have moved on and his view of the government does not seem to have improved. "As Secretary of Education, Gavin Williamson has shown a permanent level of incompetence with diarrhea," he says. "Why not replace him with Jeremy Hunt [former Minister of Health]?" Why not in fact?