Labour can capitalise on camera shy Theresa May

11 May 2017

Team Corbyn seemed to have finally have cottoned on to a weakness in Theresa May. The Prime Minister, effective as she may be in the chamber, is not altogether as comfortable in front of the media.

 

So much so, Channel 4’s Michael Crick revealed this week at one of the exclusive election stops for the Prime Minister that questions from journalists have to be vetted and approved by her team long before they are put to her.

 

Labour’s previous hesitancy in putting Jeremy Corbyn in front of the cameras and in a room full of ‘the mainstream media’ seems to have eroded.

 

This greater access has meant that questions have been able to cover a lot more than just Corbyn’s perceived unpopularity with the general public – although that is still an issue – and more about the policies of a potential Labour government.

 

We learned this week, for example, that Labour would not raise income tax for those earning under £80,000 a year, car parking charges at hospitals would be scrapped, and they would also do away with tuition fees for students.

 

At the same time, we learned that Theresa May has always been a supporter of fox hunting and would seek a vote to reintroduce the controversial measure.

 

That was during a question and answer session in a factory in York where she again tried to dictate the pattern of inquisition, asking for workers to be given questions first before the media.

 

It may not sound like much to gripe about, but it does give an insight into why the Prime Minister has shied away from engaging in direct TV debates with her opposition, and perhaps even more so as to why she called an election in the first place.

 

Mrs May does not seem most comfortable when under scrutiny. She is not such an assured performer like her predecessor David Cameron. It has been noted in PMQs that Corbyn has managed to make her seem nervous and rattled on more than one occasion.

 

Unlike Cameron, May’s administration is a lot more insular. Perhaps concerned by leaks about Brexit early in her tenure, all media interview requests with ministers, on whatever topic, were then made to be directed through Number 10 for approval.

 

With such a slim majority in parliament and even in her own party, by seeking a stronger mandate she is perhaps hoping for a less bumpy ride through the inevitably corkscrew-filled rollercoaster that is Brexit – with the whole world’s media watching.  

 

To get to that stage, she’ll have to face immense scrutiny from the media as anyone seeking election in a democratic society should face – and not every questioner will be as kind to her as Matt Baker and Alex Jones on the plush One Show settee.

 

 

 

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