Theresa May meets the kids in Copeland… and pulls funny faces at them
Turns out the PM is not so different from David Cameron and George Osborne after all.
The Conservative campaign to win the Copeland by-election was supposed to be bolstered today when the prime minister turned up in the constituency.
In the event, Theresa May mainly garnered attention for pulling faces at children and refusing to say whether cuts to local hospital services will go ahead.
During her flying visit to Cumbria, the prime minister visited Captain Shaw’s primary school with Tory by-election candidate Trudy Harrison.
“I have been blown away by the children,” May said after the pupils gave a demonstration of their Lego robot.
But her facial expression often told a different story, with snappers happily capturing a series of images of the prime minister grimacing at small children as they excitedly showed her their Lego creations.
May is not the only top Tory to have come a cropper in a school in recent years.
During the 2015 general election a six-year-old schoolgirl pulled a series of interesting faces while then Tory leader David Cameron tried to help her read a story. Lucy Howarth then rested her head on the table after struggling with a tricky passage.
The key shot was taken by Press Association photographer Stefan Rousseau, who later told Total Politics: “It was a fantastic picture; if you look at it you can’t help but smile. It’s didn’t last long, so you had to be quick and get the picture at that moment.”
The following year George Osborne paid a visit to St Benedict's Catholic Primary School in Garforth, West Yorkshire. He was filmed observing a netball lesson only to teased by one child who pretended to throw the ball in his direction before suddenly turning and throwing it over to his friend instead. Osborne then tried in vain to speak to the kids about "the football and the rugby", cereals and the Tour de France.
Also during her 30-minute visit to Copeland, the prime minister repeatedly refused to say whether cuts to local hospital services will go ahead.
Plans to downgrade maternity services at the West Cumberland Hospital have formed the centrepiece of the by-election, which was called following the resignation of Jamie Reed.
Harrison has said she is opposed to the proposals, which Labour have claimed could lead to babies dying. During her visit, May was asked four times by ITV News whether she backed the Tory candidate, but each time refused to do so.