Downing Street defends publicly-funded photos of Boris Johnsons dog

Downing Street defends publicly-funded photos of Boris Johnsons dog

No 10 has defended spending taxpayers’ money on photographers after snaps of Boris Johnson’s dog playing in the snow were uploaded onto Flickr.

The shots of Dilyn in the No 10 garden are among the most recent images on the photo-sharing site, alongside one of another famous resident Larry the cat.

The gallery also features pictures of the PM hosting meetings and ministers such as Matt Hancock and Priti Patel.

No 10 said the photos “documented the work” of government and its ministers.

But Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner criticised the expenditure at a time when thousands of people were losing their jobs and facing hardship due to the pandemic.

“Millions of hard-pressed families face a £1,000 Universal Credit cut and the government is refusing to extend free school meals during half term next week, but there is apparently no limit on the budget for a coterie of vanity photographers for Boris Johnson,” she tweeted.

A No 10 spokesman confirmed there were three photographers on the government payroll, who are being paid for by the taxpayer. Two of these are civil servants and the other a special adviser.

He said the snappers were “a government resource” and the most recent recruit was working across a range of departments, taking photos of cabinet ministers undertaking official government business.

“They document the work not just of the prime minister but of the whole cabinet,” he said, adding that their pictures were made available to the media free of charge.

No 10’s flickr album includes recent images of the PM working in the Cabinet Room in No 10, Home Secretary Priti Patel visiting a vaccination centre and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab meeting an Israeli minister.

Among this rather dry pictorial record of day-to-day government activities, there were four more unusual images of Dilyn frolicking in a snowy No 10 garden whilst chewing a stick.

No 10 later removed one of the photos after being told the contact details for Carrie Symonds, the PM’s fiancee, could be seen on Dilyn’s collar.

Dilyn arrived in Downing Street shortly after the couple took up residence in July 2019. The Jack Russell-cross, now nearly two years old, was rescued after being abandoned by puppy farmers.

He became a regular feature on the 2019 election campaign trail when Ms Symonds took him canvassing.

No 10’s Flickr album contains more than 10,000 images dating back to May 2010, when David Cameron became prime minister and hosted the famous “Rose Garden” press conference with then deputy Nick Clegg.

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