John Street’s Election Diary

Written By: John Street
Published: June 7, 2017 Last modified: June 7, 2017

Now it’s all over, we can look back at the most cringe-worthy – but sometimes pertinent – moments of the election campaign.

“What is it about the recent 20% opinion poll lead that first attracted you to the idea of an election?” Radio 4’s Nick Robinson to Theresa May.

Jeremy Paxman asked May whether, given her campaign U-turns, EU negotiators would think of her: “She’s a blowhard who collapses at the first sign of gunfire”?

May refused to join a TV debate, preferring instead a cheese festival in Bath. Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said the “first rule of leadership is to show up”.

Work and pensions secretary Damian Green said there would be no rethink of the dementia tax unveiled in the Tory manifesto, saying “We have set out the policy, which we are not going to look at again.” We all know what happened next.

Former UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson called for capital punishment for suicide bombers.

Jeremy Corbyn, asked on Radio 4’s flagship Women’s Hour about the cost of his flagship childcare policy: “Erm… It will cost …erm …iit will obviously cost a lot to do …I’ll give you a figure in a minute…. Can I give you an exact figure in a moment?”

Corbyn showed off his childhood photos in a rare personal interview on the The One Show. In a wide-ranging chat, he also revealed he never wanted to be Prime Minister as a young man.

Tory candidate Richard Benyon told vandals tearing down his posters: “Go and find a girlfriend.”

Former SNP Leader Alex Salmond cracked a rib in a penalty shoot-out at a fair while he was defending his Gordon seat.

Conservative candidate Ann Myatt, contesting the Batley seat in which former MP Jo Cox was murdered, said on camera that “we have not yet shot anybody so that’s wonderful.”

On the day Labour’s draft election manifesto was leaked, Corbyn’s car drove over the foot of BBC cameraman Giles Wooltorton, and Len McCluskey fell down some steps outside a party meeting.

In a joint TV interview with her husband Philip, Theresa May said there were “boys’ jobs and girls’ jobs” in her household. He takes the bins out.

Lib Dem leader and born-again Christian Tim Farron was forced to say that being gay is not a sin after campaigners branded him a bigot.

A London estate agent complained to the Lib Dems after they used the name of his company in a spoof website attacking Theresa May. The site was called “May & Co” – the same name as a Chelsea estate agent established in 1920.

Tim Farron took his four-year-old dog Jaspar out with him on a visit to Cambridgehe told a party activist to “smell my spaniel.” He also fell over on live TV to the joy of viewers, while footage of a row with an angry Brexit voter went viral on social media.

Boris Johnson had to apologise after he caused a “livid” reaction in a worshipper in a Sikh temple by discussing his enthusiasm for a boost in the whisky trade, apparently without realising that alcohol is forbidden under some Sikh teachings.

With a week to go, pollster Comres asked people if they had made up their minds. Seventy per cent had, 21 per cent hadn’t and nine per cent didn’t know whether they had made up their mind or not.

Corbyn was endorsed by rock music magazine Kerrang! and will appear on the front of the magazine, which comes out the day before polls open on 8 June, with the issue urging readers to “take the power back!” The Labour leader has also appeared on the front cover of the latest issue of NME, following in the footsteps of the likes of Taylor Swift, Oasis and Amy Winehouse.

Theresa May denied she is subservient to Donald Trump amid claims she did not protest enough about the US leaving the Paris climate accord. She was criticised by Corbyn, who accused her of opting “for silence” and being responsible for a “dereliction of duty”. But Mrs May said she spoke to Trump at the G7 summit making the concerns of the UK known.

The vile and pompous Piers Morgan scored a rare hit when interviewing Nick Clegg: “I think a lot of students in the country would look at you and think ‘that was a pretty cynical move to promise the end of tuition fees and then treble them, but I will take you at your word that you are the shining bastion of non-cynicism in an otherwise cesspit of cynicism in Westminster, and thank God you’re here’.”



About John Street

John Street is Tribune's diary columnist.