Theresa May said she wouldn’t do TV debates because she believes “in campaigns where politicians go out and meet the voters” – but her recent experiences on the campaign trail must have her longing for the comfort of a TV studio.
The Express and Star newspaper has published a brilliant account of a meeting between the Prime Minister and one such real life voter in Dudley.
It reports how 73 year old Graham Mills, who was mowing the lawn when the PM and his entourage arrived, cut the Tory’s campaign claims down to size.
He refused the PM permission to walk across his freshly cut grass and then proceeded to give her a hard time for dodging TV debates, supporting privatisation and her record as Home Secretary. Mills told his local paper:
“I was cutting my grass at the time when I saw a load of cars pull up and she came towards me.
“First of all she asked if she could walk across my lawn and I said no, not really, I have just cut it.
“I started by asking her why she would not debate the other leaders on the TV and she said ‘well we meet every Wednesday’ and I said that is hardly an answer and asked if she thought she owed it to the public. Again I did not really get an answer.
“I asked her why she was running the exact same campaign as David Cameron did with Lynton Crosby and employing the same scare tactics by suggesting Labour would form a coalition with the SNP, which she knows they wouldn’t. It is scare tactics.
“I was amazed at how nervous she was.
“She spoke about Europe saying we had to get things back so I asked her why doesn’t she start at home
“She kept giving me stock answers every time – which was that it would be worse under Labour. I was really disappointed.”
This must be why May’s team have stopped inviting national newspaper journalists out on the campaign trail:
But the PM’s right, this is much better than TV debates…