She’s been accused of simply parroting stock phrases such as “strong and stable” during this election campaign - and Theresa May’s latest brush with a local news reporter has done nothing to help her.
The prime minister spoke to Sam Blackledge, the Plymouth Herald’s chief reporter, while on the campaign trail in the Devon port city.
But the exchange has been branded “three minutes of nothing”.
The local reporter was left scratching his head following the encounter after it appeared that May had left virtually every question he asked unanswered.
In his recollection of the meeting in the Herald, Blackledge detailed some of his questions and the non-answers he received…
Sam Blackledge: “Two visits in six weeks to one of the country’s most marginal constituencies – is she getting worried?”
Theresa May: “I’m very clear that this is a crucial election for this country.”
SB: “Plymouth is feeling the effects of military cuts. Will she guarantee to protect the city from further pain?”
TM: “I’m very clear that Plymouth has a proud record of connection with the armed forces.”
SB: “How will your Brexit plan make Plymouth better off?”
TM: “I think there is a better future ahead for Plymouth and for the whole of the UK.”
SB: “Will you promise to sort out our transport links?”
TM: “I’m very clear that connectivity is hugely important for Plymouth and the south-west generally.”
The bizarre exchange prompted much criticism online...
But this isn’t the first time May and her campaign have fallen foul of local reporters...
Reporters literally get shut in a room
Reporters were furious to have access to the PM tightly restricted during a visit to Cornwall.
Cornwall Live’s blog included a photo of a closed door their journalist could not go through, a film of the nearest they were allowed to shoot from (a long way off) and openly wondering why they were refused to permit their three-minute meeting with her.
Journalists were even put in a room together to prevent them carrying out any unauthorised filming, according to the paper.
Labour got stuck in, with the party’s national Election chair, MP Andrew Gwynne, saying the Tory campaign was “going to extraordinary efforts to avoid any form of public scrutiny”.
But the Tories hit back, saying May had “taken four times as many questions from journalists as floundering Jeremy Corbyn”.
Read the full story here.
May is accused of hiding from voters
The PM has often been mocked for struggling with “real people” and a trip to Brislington in Bristol didn’t help matters.
She addressed a social club on a housing estate there but local residents were actually invited. The audience was actually made up of Tory activists from across the city and South Gloucestershire, the Guardian reported.
When news of May’s arrival leaked, a number of protestors arrived at the event shouting “Tory scum”.
So that went well then.
One of May’s candidates takes a leaf out of her boss’ interview book
Kristy Adams, Tory candidate for Hove and Portslade, seemed to have been taking lessons in not answering the question from May when she spoke to the Argus’ Joel Adams.
The exchange went like this:
Joel Adams: Which way did you vote on Brexit?
Kristy Adams: I didn’t campaign for the outs and I didn’t campaign for the ins. I think we’ve got to look to the future and that’s what I’m about.
JA: But how did you vote?
KA: I’ve just said to you I didn’t campaign for the in team and I didn’t campaign for the out team.
JA: But I asked which way you voted.
KA: I’m not going to answer that question.