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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.

Photo: Getty

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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Theresa May condemns Big Ben’s silence – but stays silent on Donald Trump’s Nazi defence


You know what it’s like when you get back from your summer holiday. You have the inbox from hell, your laundry schedule is a nightmare, you’ve put on a few pounds, and you receive the harrowing news that a loud bell will chime slightly less often.

Well, Theresa May is currently experiencing this bummer of a homecoming. Imagine it: Philip’s taking out the bins, she’s putting the third load on (carefully separating shirt dresses from leathers), she switches on Radio 4 and is suddenly struck by the cruel realisation that Big Ben’s bongs will fall silent for a few years.

It takes a while for the full extent of the atrocity to sink in. A big old clock will have to be fixed. For a bit. Its bell will not chime. But sometimes it will.

God, is there no end to this pain.

“It can’t be right,” she thinks.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States Donald Trump is busy excusing a literal Nazi rally which is so violent someone was killed. Instead of condemning the fascists, Trump insisted there was violence on both sides – causing resignations and disgust in his own administration and outrage across the world.

At first, May’s spokesperson commented that “what the President says is a matter for him” and condemned the far right, and then the PM continued in the same vein – denouncing the fascists but not directing any criticism at the President himself:

“I see no equivalence between those who profound fascists views and those who oppose them.

“I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them.”

Unlike May, other politicians here – including senior Tories – immediately explicitly criticised Trump. The Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said Trump had “turned his face to the world to defend Nazis, fascists and racists. For shame”, while justice minister Sam Gyimah said the President has lost “moral authority”.

So our Right Honourable leader, the head of Her Majesty’s Government, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, made another statement:

“Of course we want to ensure people’s safety at work but it can’t be right for Big Ben to be silent for four years.

“And I hope that the speaker, as the chairman of the House of Commons commission, will look into this urgently so that we can ensure that we can continue to hear Big Ben through those four years.”

Nailed it. The years ahead hang in the balance, and it was her duty to speak up.

I'm a mole, innit.