AFTER everything that has been going on this past week a story ended up being buried which was one was of the most important.

Following an escalation of tensions between Number 10 and the media, political journalists had to boycott a briefing on trade negotiations when the Prime Minister’s senior communications adviser attempted to exclude reporters.

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Now some reading this may think ‘so what’, and wonder why they should care. I’m also aware that getting any sympathy for journalists for anything might prove a little difficult.

But Boris Johnson’s press ban is actually very concerning, and an attack on democracy we should all oppose.

The briefing was to be given by politically neutral government officials and of course on a key subject. The result of these negotiations will affect all our lives, so the government has a duty to keep the public informed what is happening, the good and bad, embracing all media.

The PM’s team decided those considered less friendly to the government, such as the Daily Mirror and the Independent, should be excluded. To their credit reporters on the invited list, including the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, ITV’s Robert Peston, and political journalists including from the Daily Mail, made a stand in refusing the invite, despite it hurting themselves. They knew the principle was far more important, and attending would have set a dangerous precedent.

The government simply can’t pick and choose who scrutinises and reports on them. Before all this the PM’s team, led by strategist Dominic Cummings, had already banned ministers from appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and boycotted ITV’s Good Morning Britain. For a long time we have mocked other countries, particularly the US with Trump who has called certain reporters he has banned ‘enemies of the people’. Yet here we are, with it happening right in front of us, and people just shrug.

Where will it end? What will they try next?

It feels like we are heading to a situation where the strategy will be cut out the middle man, and post straight to social media. But that is not a healthy democracy works. Without scrutiny from a free press, it will be just government propaganda drivel.