Is Theresa May more big time than the Tories? Five things we learned on Friday:
1. Theresa May thinks she is more popular than her party. She has already given speeches in front of billboards bearing her name but no mention of the Conservative Party. And she has introduced Tory candidates at rallies as ‘Theresa May’s Team’. Now she has launched a campaign tour battlebus plastered with the slogan Theresa May: For Britain, with the word ‘Conservatives’ relegated to a tiny spot on the door.
2. Labour’s Barry Gardiner thinks the BBC should be a bit more picky about the newspapers it reviews. Appearing on the Today programme, the shadow international trade secretary took offence at Nick Robinson’s round-up of headlines including The Sun’s ‘Crash Bang Wallies’ take on the Labour manifesto. An angry Gardiner told Robinson that he was ‘trivialising the debate’ and should show more discretion in his choice of newspaper. Robinson later tweeted: ‘Wonder if Barry Gardiner had three Shredded Wheat this morning?’
3. Liberal Democrat candidate Julian Huppert is not planning to take advantage of his party’s plan to legalise cannabis. Huppert, who is fighting to regain the Cambridge seat he lost in 2015, hit the airwaves to denounce the Government’s ‘disastrous’ approach to the drug and promote Lib Dem proposals for regulated sales of cannabis in high street shops. But asked when he last smoked a joint, he told the Cambridge News: ‘I’m really boring. I’ve never had one. You can believe that or not. I am that dull.’
4. Time is not on the side of the Brexiteers, according to Ian McEwan. The Booker-winning novelist told a conference in London that the Grim Reaper may be able to achieve what the combined forces of David Cameron, Tony Blair and Eddie Izzard could not and turn Britain into a country which wants to stay in the EU. By the predicted date of Brexit in 2019, the country could be ‘in a receptive mood’ for a second referendum, he said, explaining that by then, the electorate would be changed by ‘2.5 million over-18s, freshly enfranchised, mostly Remainers, 1.5 million oldsters, mostly Brexiters, freshly in their graves.’
5. May is facing some seasoned campaigners in her Maidenhead seat. Official Raving Loony Party leader Howling Laud Hope is making his 18th bid for a seat in the Commons and the PM will also be challenged by the mysterious Lord Buckethead, apparently the only candidate in the election to have previously stood against both Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron will be hoping to batter opponent Mr Fishfinger in Westmorland and Lonsdale.