A daily editor has hit out after regional press reporters were denied access to Theresa May during a surprise visit to their patch yesterday.
Two journalists from Gloucestershire Live, the online arm of daily newspapers the Gloucester Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo, were stopped from interviwewing Mrs May during a science festival at Cheltenham Town Hall.
Reporters Carly Squires and Matt Discombe were told they could join the team interviewing Mrs May – but were then given their “marching orders” after the PM was taken into another room.
Echo editor Matt Holmes has described the PM’s refusal to engage with his reporters as “outrageous.”
The paper had only found out about the visit an hour before her arrival after contacting Cheltenham Tory candidate Alex Chalk.
Carly and Matt had attempted to arrange an interview with the PM, but were told they could only attend the event without asking any questions.
The pair decided to film the event and attempted to quiz Mrs May on the spot, but she failed to respond.
In a Facebook Live video recorded by the pair after Mrs May’s departure, Carly made reference to a piece by Plymouth Herald chief reporter Sam Blackledge about his brief encounter with the PM last week.
Carly told HTFP: “We did decide to stay quiet as she spoke to the public at the science festival, but as we went to follow the PM and the journalists into the interview room we were stopped by the Conservative party.
“The only explanation that we were given? That ‘the plans had changed’. That’s it. Next thing we know she is jumping into a silver Jaguar to continue on her campaign ahead of Thursday.
“We now stand jealous of Sam Blackledge’s infuriating meeting with Mrs May in Plymouth – at least he was given the chance to ask questions in the first place.”
Gloucestershire Echo editor Matt Holmes said: “I think it is outrageous that the incumbent Prime Minister refuses to engage with our reporters this close to the General Election.”
Mrs May has also been criticised by a Labour candidate for failing to inform the local press of her visit to North Wales.
Clwyd South Labour candidate Susan Elan Jones told The Leader: “This snubbing of our local media is symptomatic of the way the Tories have conducted their campaign – they’ve completely failed to engage locally
Earlier in the election campaign, journalists from Cornwall Live were barred from filming or photographing the PM during a visit to their patch.