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What better front pages for TMay on the day of the big local elections

May 2nd, 2019

She  comes over as decisive firm and tough

The conventional wisdom is that you don’t want negative stories about your party to be making the headlines on the day of any elections. Everything is about turnout, particularly with the locals, and all efforts should be made to ensure that your base and your activists are out there enthusiastically going to the polls and getting out the vote.

So I just wonder whether the very public sacking Gavin Williamson yesterday evening was part of a Number 10 plan to present the Prime Minister in a much more positive light.

There’s little doubt that over the last few weeks ahead of the elections that CON canvassers have been hearing a very similar message from their supporters on the doorstep. The process of trying to get the Brexit deal through Parliament has led to Theresa appearing indecisive and weak. What better way of countering that than to have her seem to be acting in a such forthright manner when the victim is not someone who is universally popular (remember the Private Pike jokes).

One thing we know about Theresa May is that she is very keen on local government. She is a former councillor herself and even as PM is known to regularly do door-to-door canvassing for local elections in her constituency. She must have been very aware that a very poor result tonight could be a trigger for a move against her.

My guess is that the Tories are still going to have a bad set of your local elections today but the scale of the seat losses that have been predicted might not come about. It doesn’t take much in low turnout elections for a little bit of extra enthusiasm from party voters and supporters to make a big difference.

Tomorrow morning I might be proved right that public sacking of Gavin Williamson was a master stroke.

Mike Smithson