Boris Johnson's spokesman defends 'vanity' taxpayer-funded photos of PM's dog playing in snow

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Boris Johnson's spokesman has defended the hiring of three photographers working in Number 10, whose taxpayer-funded tasks include taking photos of the prime minister's dog playing in snow.

Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said the revelation raised questions about money spent on "a coterie of vanity photographers".

And an opposition source said the government had made a "dog's dinner" of issues including border restrictions and schools, claiming Dilyn the Downing Street puppy would be a "marked improvement" and "probably waste less taxpayers' cash".

It comes after the Mirror revealed there are three photographers working in Number 10 - including one on secondment from the Ministry of Defence.

Their recent snaps include photos of Larry the Downing Street cat around the building, as well as senior ministers holding meetings.

Downing Street did not deny the report, when faced with questions by journalists on Wednesday afternoon.

Asked if it was a good use of taxpayers' money, Mr Johnson's spokesman said the pictures document the government and how it works.

He added the images are free for editorial use and some of the photographers work in other departments.

When pressed on why press photo-journalists are not allowed in to Number 10 for similar opportunities, the spokesman said the taxpayer-funded photographers are a government resource.

And when asked how photos of cats and dogs are documenting the work of the government, Mr Johnson's spokesman said the pictures document the work of the whole cabinet.