Allegra Stratton, the new face of Downing Street

Allegra Stratton, outside 10 Downing Street, London, October 8, 2020.

Small revolution in the highly codified world of British political journalism: Downing Street will acquire a new spokesperson. The function has been around for a long time, but it will change in nature: in the coming weeks, Allegra Stratton, 39, will host a daily information point for the first time, broadcast live on television. Like at the White House or at the European Commission.

Until then largely unknown to the general public, the government spokesperson (since 2017, it is James Slack, a former journalist of the Daily Mail) distilled his information behind closed doors, in front of an audience of handpicked journalists – a few dozen members of the “lobby”, with a pass giving them restricted access to Downing Street and the Parliament of Westminster (the latter months, the “briefings” took place over the telephone).

Currently director of communications for Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Allegra Stratton will therefore become the “face” of Downing Street. And going from the shade to the light: this should not pose too many problems for this tall blonde with light eyes, known for her frankness and her strong character, already used to television cameras. The ex-journalist started his career at the BBC, then joined the Guardian, the great daily newspaper of the British left, before returning to the small screen, in particular to ITV, where she co-hosted the information section of the evening until last spring.

“Beautiful people”

Baptized, by her parents, in reference to an illegitimate daughter of the poet Byron, Allegra belongs to the caste of “beautiful people”: ultraconnected and known to the point of eliciting an article in the Daily Mail in 2013 when she swapped her high heels for flip-flops on the set of the BBC… A Cambridge graduate in archeology and anthropology, this mother of two young children is married to James Forsyth, head of the political service of the Spectator, the weekly of which Boris Johnson was for a long time editor-in-chief.

Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murthy, daughter of the wealthy founder of the Infosys company, are the godfather and godmother of his two children. Allegra and her husband are symmetrically those of the two daughters of the Indo-British couple. When they got married in 2011, all the politico-media gratin had moved into the green Oxfordshire countryside.

You have 57.62% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here