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  1. Election 2019
25 November 2019

“Make out you’re not a friend”: Tory caught staging friendly voters for the cameras

The Mail’s Michael Crick overheard Tory candidate for Ashfield Lee Anderson setting someone up to greet him on the doorstep for flattering press coverage.

By Election Mole

It’s beginning to look a lot like elexmas – as we have our first traditional “hot mic” moment of the campaign!

Broadcaster Michael Crick of the Mail was making a film in Ashfield following the Tory candidate Lee Anderson around doorknocking – a standard piece of political coverage on the road.

But it turned out his mic was on when he privately called someone up to stage them for the cameras as a friendly voter:

“Don’t, just make out you don’t, make out you know who I am, that you know I’m the candidate but not a friend, all right? I’m at the carpark, have a quick look, yeah? All right, I’ll see you in a minute.”

There’s a moment in the film where a resident called Steve opens the door to him and praises Anderson’s calls for council tenants to be housed in tents, forced to wake up at 6am to pick vegetables, and then given cold showers.

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Anderson looks embarrassed when the man says he was “too soft” and instead suggests a “cat o’ nine tails” and putting them “in a pink tutu”. “I can’t support this, can we just cut there for one moment please?” asks the candidate.

Crick laughs as Anderson says the film will “end my career”, and jokes that it’s “almost like it’s been set up for us”.

Earlier in the film, Anderson repeats “no comment” when Crick tries to ask about the rather barbaric policy proposal.

It’s not clear whether this was the conversation in question that Anderson set up – your mole has contacted the local Tories to ask them, and will give you an update when it hears back.

Watch here: