UK

BBC Election Debate Questions Leave Theresa May Awkwardly Stumbling Over Words

Is this the Prime Minister's most awkward moment of the election campaign yet?

01/06/2017 11:12 BST

The prime minister may have had her most awkward moment of the election campaign so far, as she stumbled over questions about her BBC debate no-show.

Theresa May was repeatedly burned for ‘not bothering’ to turn up to the seven-way face off last night, which sparked the Twitter trend #WhereIsTheresa.

So as people continue their search for Mrs May, we’ve dug out this cringeworthy clip.

As May dodged last minute contender Jeremy Corbyn and the big debate in Cambridge, she spent Wednesday afternoon at Cross Manufacturing in Odd Down, near Bath in Somerset.

There she faced questions from reporters and workers on live telly (to use her own abbreviation), perhaps giving a glimpse as to how she would fair live under pressure.

May stumbled over her words after she was asked: “Prime Minister if you’re so strong and Jeremy Corbyn’s so weak as you’ve said, why have you sent Amber Rudd to take on his arguments at the debate tonight?”

Cue VERY awkward laughter and a strained smiled as the crowd cheered and openly laughed at her.

Looking like she wished the ground would swallow her up, the PM replied, accusing Corbyn of “paying far more attention to how many appearances on telly he’s doing.”

She added: “I think he ought to be paying a little more attention to thinking about Brexit negotiations. That’s what I’m doing to make sure we get the best possible deal for Britain.”

There was then an awkward silence as she looked around around, gulping, before uttering desperately: “Laura” to the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg

After a long pause, things got worse for May as Kuenssberg said: “Er, thank you Prime Minister but forgive me on the same issue” May could not hide her look of dread.

BBC
Theresa May's look of dread as Laura Kuenssberg repeats the question

Kuenssberg continued: “Public scrutiny is a very important part of any election campaign. He’s [Corbyn] now up for a head-to-head debate, doesn’t it suggest that you’re frightened of taking him on directly if you don’t go to?

Smiling and shaking her head, laughing, May replied, stumbling over her words again: “You know Laura, first of all I’ve been taking Jeremy Corbyn on directly, er, week in and week out in Prime Minister’s Questions taking questions from members of the public who are going to be voting on the 8th June is so important, that’s what I enjoy, enjoy doing during the er during the campaigns and, er, I think that’s really important, that’s why I’ve been doing that up and er up and round the country, um, I think the other interesting question is I feel sorry for ITV, why didn’t he do their debate?”

Desperately trying to crack a joke, and smiling waiting for applause, May was met with silence.

She is then seen turning to another reporter: “Emily?” 

Oh dear.