New No10 press chief Allegra Stratton breaks cover to slam ‘unpleasant’ Vote Leave aides amid claims she was ‘left in tears’ by vicious briefing – insisting she IS a Tory and voted for Brexit
- Appointment of Allegra Stratton was at heart of the Downing Street civil war
- Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain ousted after an extraordinary power struggle
- New No10 press chief Ms Stratton slammed the ‘unpleasant’ Vote Leave aides
New No10 press chief Allegra Stratton broke cover to slam the ‘unpleasant’ Vote Leave clique today amid claims she was left in tears by vicious briefing.
Ms Stratton, an experienced journalist who was working as an aide to Rishi Sunak before joining No10, said she had been ‘upset’ by the backlash.
She said she was ‘only ever trying to do the right thing’, telling the Observer: ‘The country does not want to be run by people in No10 who treat people discourteously and unpleasantly.’
Ms Stratton also flatly denied claims that she was not a committed Tory, saying she voted for the party and had voted for Brexit in 2016.
‘I voted for Brexit. And I voted for the Conservatives. In my youth I think I have voted Green, I voted Labour, I voted Lib Dem. But I’m definitely Brexit and a Johnson Tory,’ she told the Sunday Telegraph.
The robust defence came after Mr Cummings and his ally Lee Cain were dramatically ousted from Downing Street following a bitter power struggle.
Ms Stratton’s appointment has emerged as the flashpoint for the confrontation between the Vote Leave veterans and Carrie Symonds.
Allegra Stratton has flatly denied claims that she is not a committed Tory, saying she voted for the party and had voted for Brexit in 2016
Ms Stratton, an experienced journalist who was working as an aide to Rishi Sunak before joining No10, said she had been ‘upset’ by the backlash following the departure of Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain (pictured left and right last year)
Ms Stratton, a well-connected and experienced broadcaster who has worked for BBC Newsnight and ITV News, will have the job of defending the Government in daily televised press conferences in the New Year.
Mr Cain has denied briefing against Ms Stratton.
A close friend of Ms Stratton told the Observer she had been ‘in tears all morning’ due to the backlash.
And she told the newspaper: ‘Yes, I am upset because I was only ever trying to do the right thing by the country. And the country does not want to be run by people in No 10 who treat people discourteously and unpleasantly.’
Mr Johnson, backed by his fiancee, is said to have been keen to appoint Ms Stratton from the beginning.
He apparently bombarded Ms Stratton will calls while she was mulling the idea, urging her to put her name forward.
Promises were also made to top up her £125,000-a-year Government salary with money from Tory party funds so she could claim parity with the £140,000 pay packets of Mr Cain and Dominic Cummings.
According to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Johnson promised Ms Stratton that she would not be subject to the process of a focus group assessment, leading her to object when Mr Cain insisted.
The results were used by Mr Cain to press the case for Ms Stratton’s closest rival for the job, BBC political journalist Ellie Price.
Mr Cain said the focus groups had found Ms Stratton to be too ‘aggressive’ when shown her responses to mock media questions by the selection panel.
Mr Johnson, backed by his fiancee, is said to have been keen to appoint Ms Stratton from the beginning
He also made the argument to colleagues that Ms Price had seemed more composed under pressure. Mr Cain’s reservations meant there were inevitable tensions when Ms Stratton was given the job.
He then suggested to Ms Stratton that Ms Price should act as her deputy.
Ms Stratton refused – fearing Ms Price would be used to deputise for her if she refused to follow ‘scripts’ at press conferences suggested by Mr Cain or Mr Cummings. Friends say Ms Stratton has been left shaken by the civil war which has erupted over her appointment.
One friend said: ‘The past three weeks have been a complete nightmare for Allegra.
‘It was clear from the outset that her and Lee would not be able to work together. Lee always looked as if he wanted to rip her head off.’