icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Quick, blame Russia! London’s much-panned new press briefing room somehow cost £2.6mn

Quick, blame Russia! London’s much-panned new press briefing room somehow cost £2.6mn
The UK’s fantastically expensive overhaul of 9 Downing Street’s press briefing room has left much to be desired, panned by early viewers as a setting for “dictator-like party-political broadcasts” and by others as “a bit cheap.”

Set against a background of bright blue, the speaker’s podium – flanked by four Union Jacks – could be swapped out for a two-person particleboard table. A mammoth flat-screen dominates one wall, flashing a coat of arms.

Adding insult to injury, the Cabinet Office reportedly claimed the makeover cost a tidy £2,607,767.67 in response to a Freedom of Information request filed through the Press Association.

Many on social media were taken aback to discover that their government had blown their taxes on such a ghastly setup.

Others tried to find science in the ugliness...

... while many suggested the balance of construction had either been pocketed in good-old-boy graft or spent in upscale surveillance equipment.

Others wondered if the lion’s share of the money was sunk into trap doors for disposing of troublesome journalists.

The Daily Mail claimed to have gotten to the bottom of the mystery, declaring that “much of the equipment used in the briefing room was installed by a Russian-owned company with links to state broadcaster Russia Today.” A company called Megahertz was said to have been hired to “install microphones, control desks, cameras and computers” – few of which were actually visible in the preview shots of the hideous briefing room.

MP Chris Bryant pronounced the “new vanity project” to be “dodgy” in an interview with HuffPost, which confirmed that Megahertz had done “crucial work” to prepare the cheesy setup to receive timeless words of wisdom from PM Boris Johnson and his spokeswoman Allegra Stratton. Why the UK would employ a company seemingly controlled by a nation awaiting designation as London’s “biggest state-based threat” to construct its briefing setup was not explained. However, despite the temptation of the low-hanging “blame Russia” fruit, Stratton told the Daily Mail that “all the correct processes have been followed,” insisting “it’s absolutely not something we would ever cut corners on.” 

Also on rt.com ‘Russia will outgun UK in artillery battle’ – British defense committee uses Russia as bogeyman in apparent bid for more funding

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Podcasts