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Publisher forces Downing Street U-turn after journalists barred from PM visit

IanCarterEditorialDirectorKM (1)An independent publisher has forced a Downing Street U-turn after its journalists were barred from attending a visit by Boris Johnson.

Iliffe Media was initially told it would be unable to attend a visit to Kent by the embattled Prime Minister due to limited space, after its kmfm radio team received word via Sky News that it would be taking place.

However, following a complaint to Number 10 by editorial director Ian Carter the group was told it could send a representative to Lydd Airport, where Mr Johnson announced plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing.

However, with confirmation given just 30 minutes before the press conference was due to take place, Iliffe photographer Barry Goodwin, who had another job nearby, was the group’s only representative able to attend and take pictures.

The latest battle for access comes after Ian accused Mr Johnson of treating the regional press “like mugs” when local journalists were snubbed during a visit to Kent in February.

Discussing the latest incident, Ian told HTFP: “It’s important to kick up a fuss when things like this happen, and I am glad we eventually got in.

“The regional press do a really valuable job and have enormous reach in their local markets, and we need Government to recognise that.

“I don’t know any editor at any publisher who would be happy to just print a press release after a VIP visit on their patch.”

The snub in February prompted Iliffe’sKent Online to run a story pointing out local media were not informed of the visit, while Ian himself was inspired to write a blog on the subject.

In the blog, he highlighted HTFP’s coverage of similar snubs by Mr Johnson in the past and industry reaction to the practice.

HTFP has approached Downing Street for a comment.