The Conservative Parrty’s election campaign has faced criticism for being overly-stage managed and limiting the exposure of Theresa May to the media and the general public.
A typical Tory ‘rally’ involves a rote speech to a hand-picked audience of activists, followed by three questions where the answer will at some point involve the words ‘strong and and stable’.
Her speech in the South West today looked and sounded much like her speech in Lancashire a day earlier.
So it must have been a shock for the Prime Minister to come face-to-face with an actually real-life, non-Tory Party member on the streets.
While visiting the St Austell and Newquay constituency in Cornwall, the PM was approached by a woman in sunglasses for what the BBC described as her “first sharp encounter of this campaign”.
The woman appeared concerned the election was too focussed on quitting the European Union when there were other issues to be tackled, including the rise in the use of food banks, homelessness and house price affordability. The exchange, with the media watching on, ended frostily.
May: “Brexit has huge opportunities for us.”
Woman: “It doesn’t help that Boris Johnson says Brexit is about selling haggis to the Americans.”
Speaking to the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg afterwards, the woman seemed unconvinced.
She told the journalist:
“The austerity cuts have been incredibly damaging, we need a strong economy. I don’t believe Brexit is going to take us to a strong economy.”
Another by-stander chipped in:
“I’ve never felt in my adult life so depressed about the state of this country.”