Allegra Stratton’s role will be to lie for Boris Johnson as he seems bored with having to do it for himself

Stratton will be Johnson’s Johnson

The principal change is that whereas hitherto Johnson has had to lie for himself he now has someone to lie for him. Ms Stratton is a professional communicator so I’m sure she’ll do it well. But in effect we will in future have to deal with the monkey not the organ grinder. A Press Secretary is NOT part of the Government – she is its servant. And she can credibly say “I don’t know” whereas Johnson could not. And she can say (and definitely will) “I’ll come back to you”.

The key relationship will not be with the PM but with Dominic Cummings. Cummings has been the de facto Press Secretary (among other things) for some time. Every significant communication has had his stamp on it. When Johnson appears to take us for fools it’s because Cummings takes us for fools. Stratton needs to ensure that she commands tone and style not the Svengali in the basement.

But Stratton will be Her Master’s Voice – that’s her job. She may challenge Johnson and try and persuade his messages to be less mendacious and she may finesse things a bit. But however good she is she will still be an apparatchik beholden to a dysfunctional government pursuing crackpot policies. Johnson’s Johnson.

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