Theresa May said that she wouldn’t criticise the Daily Mail for its “crush the saboteurs” front page because she believes we “should stand up for the freedom of the press” – but it appears her willingness to stand up for freedom of the press ends at their right to ask her a question.
The Prime Minister kicked-off the Tories’ election campaign last night by repeating Lynton Crosby’s sound bites for 15 minutes at a choreographed rally in front a few hand-picked supporters to which she arrived by helicopter.
Journalists were invited but not allowed to ask questions. Today, journalists have been frozen out all together – even from the Tory-supporting press.
The Telegraph’s chief political correspondent Christopher Hope wrote:
And Bloomberg journalist Rob Hutton points out:
Since Parliament voted to hold an election yesterday, Theresa May has taken no questions from journalists. #AskMay
— Robert Hutton (@RobDotHutton) April 20, 2017
Some journalists, like the Independent’s Jon Stone, don’t think it’s a big loss:
Theresa May isn’t taking any questions? How will we cope without her repeating the same four soundbites in response to whatever she’s asked?
— Jon Stone (@joncstone) April 20, 2017
But Theresa May’s refusal to take questions is in contrast to Jeremy Corbyn’s approach at Labour’s campaign launch today – and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the press pack:
Mirror political editor Jack Blanchard:
Jeremy Corbyn invited all the press to his campaign launch speech and took loads of Qs from journalists. Theresa May is avoiding scrutiny https://t.co/os9vFaU9bq
— Jack Blanchard (@Jack_Blanchard_) April 20, 2017
Times deputy political editor Sam Coates:
At least we are invited Worth pointing out Theresa May didn't take questions in her first campaign event or make cabinet ministers available
— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) April 20, 2017
Politics Home editor Kevin Schofield:
Regardless of whether you think he answered the media's questions or not, at least Jeremy Corbyn took them – unlike Theresa May last night.
— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) April 20, 2017
Presumably, just like the TV debates, Theresa May is too busy meeting ordinary voters to take awkward questions from journalists.
Well, we know how that’s going…
Two fingers up to the Prime Minister. Seems not everyone was happy Theresa May's visit to Bolton pic.twitter.com/bJljZE62Rc
— Rob Windscheffel (@RWindscheffel) April 19, 2017