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5 times Theresa May has been accused of avoiding the public when campaigning

The Prime Minister’s election campaign visits are tightly restricted.

The Conservative general election campaign is turning into Theresa May hiding in a number of obscure locations around the country repeating the words “strong” and “stable” at Potemkin villages of Tory activists.

Your mole has totted up all the times the Prime Minister appears to have avoided speaking to (shudder) Ordinary People.

1. Refusing to debate Jeremy Corbyn

Theresa May is refusing to appear head-to-head with the Labour leader in TV debates, causing Corbyn to ask “If she’s so proud of her record, why won’t she debate it?” and a man dressed as a chicken employed by the Mirror chasing her around.


2. Visiting a factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire

Theresa May visited the IKO Polymeric factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire – but it looked suspiciously sparse in there for a working day. She was accused of failing to meet the factory workers, only answering questions from journalists while she was there.


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It was here that she forgot where on the campaign trail she was, telling journalists: “I’m pleased to come to this…er…this particular town.”


3. Speaking at a Leeds business centre – after the workers had all left

At at a campaign event at the Shine building in Leeds, the Prime Minister spoke to a room full of guests invited by the party, rather than local people or people who work in the building’s office space.

Residents of the Labour constituency spied pictures of the campaign event online and claimed that the audience didn’t look like who you’d expect to see at Shine – a grade II-listed Victorian school that has been renovated into a community project hosting office space and meeting rooms.

Shine insisted that this was a private event booked out by the party – the guest list was up to the Tories, not the businesses in the building.

“She didn’t arrive until we’d all left for the day. Everyone in the building past 6pm was invite-only,” tweeted Rik Kendell, a Leeds-based developer and designer who says he works in the Shine building. “They seemed to seek out the most clinical corner for their PR photos. Such a beautiful building to work in.”

Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “hiding from the public”, and local Labour MP Richard Burgon commented that, “like a medieval monarch, she simply briefly relocated her travelling court of admirers to town and then moved on without so much as a nod to the people she considers to be her lowly subjects”.

4. Listing her rally in Scotland as a child’s birthday party

During a trip up to Scotland, May dodged Aberdeenshire locals by listing her rally as a child’s birthday party, booked out from 10am to 5pm at Crathes village hall. Voters were miffed. “It’s been so secretive, they are supposed to be holding these big rallies but all she’s doing is hiding in little village halls, not saying they are going to be there,” one told the Independent.

What doorknocking she did do in Scotland didn’t involve many people opening the door – and led to a Benny Hill YouTube remix:

5. “Locking” journalists away while visiting an industrial estate in Cornwall

Local reporters were furious at the stage-management of May’s trip to a Cornish industrial estate, accusing her of a “level of media control here is far and above anything I’ve seen before”. Cornwall Live staffers called the event “very tightly controlled” and said they were kept away from the PM in a separate room until they were allowed three minutes of questions – which they weren’t allowed to film.

A Tory spokesperson described the situation as a “last minute request to add a camera to a pre-arranged pool of broadcast cameras”, which was “not possible”.

I'm a mole, innit.

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LISTEN: Boris Johnson has a meltdown in car crash interview on the Queen’s Speech

“Hang on a second…errr…I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

“Hang on a second,” Boris Johnson sighed. On air, you could hear the desperate rustling of his briefing notes (probably a crumpled Waitrose receipt with “crikey” written on it) and him burbling for an answer.

Over and over again, on issues of racism, working-class inequality, educational opportunity, mental healthcare and housing, the Foreign Secretary failed to answer questions about the content of his own government’s Queen’s Speech, and how it fails to tackle “burning injustices” (in Theresa May’s words).

With each new question, he floundered more – to the extent that BBC Radio 4 PM’s presenter Eddie Mair snapped: “It’s not a Two Ronnies sketch; you can’t answer the question before last.”

But why read your soon-to-be predecessor’s Queen’s Speech when you’re busy planning your own, eh?

Your mole isn’t particularly surprised at this poor performance. Throughout the election campaign, Tory politicians – particularly cabinet secretaries – gave interview after interview riddled with gaffes.

These performances were somewhat overlooked by a political world set on humiliating shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who has been struggling with ill health. Perhaps if commentators had less of an anti-Abbott agenda – and noticed the car crash performances the Tories were repeatedly giving and getting away with it – the election result would have been less of a surprise.

I'm a mole, innit.

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