Boris Johnson bypassing the media with private vanity photographers, David Cameron suggests

Boris Johnson has hired private vanity photographers to “bypass” the media, David Cameron has suggested, as he said the Prime Minister “gets away with things mere mortals can’t”.

The former prime minister said that while he had always tried to appear in the media to answer questions, Mr Johnson had succeeded in hiring non-journalists to take photographs of him while shutting the media out.

David Cameron said it was important for politicians and the media to have a working relationship

Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The Government employs three dedicated photographers to take pictures of ministers on official visits, including Andrew Parsons, a former press photographer who now works in Downing Street full-time.

Mr Johnson has been criticised for the hires, which news agencies argue shut out independent journalists and provide an airbrushed view of the Government.

Mr Cameron, who also employed Mr Parsons while working in Downing Street, was asked about the photographers for a Sky News documentary about prime ministers and the media.

"Boris has always been able to get away with things that mere mortals can’t seem to,” he said.

"I think you shouldn’t do this to bypass the media.

“You go on having, whether it’s press conferences or interviews or media events. This is important and I always did.

"The press conferences were rather infrequent, but I never held back from going on the Today programme coming on your show.

"We were always available and keen to engage and to answer questions."

‘Arms race’ between politicians and the press

The No10 photographers have caused controversy in the past after they were used to take photographs of Mr Johnson’s dog, Dilyn, frolicking in the Downing Street garden.

Andrew Parsons, the No10 photographer, took this picture of Mr Johnson with his dog, Dilyn

Credit: Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street

Critics said the pictures were a vanity project and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

In the documentary, Mr Cameron bemoaned the “arms race” between politicians and the press he believes has taken place since he retired from politics.

"Politicians have tooled up with special advisers and the spin doctors, and the media have tooled up by even more aggressive ‘gotcha’ interviews to get that magic moment,” he said.

"I think we have got to try and have a relationship, still distant and confrontational by moments, but understanding that you have got legitimate questions, but we have also got a responsibility to explain what we are doing,” he said.

"And can we try and find a bit of space for those things to coexist."

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