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PM shuns questions from local press during visit

Journalists were left fuming after the Prime Minister refused to take questions from local news outlets during a visit yesterday.

The Coventry Telegraph’s political correspondent Les Reid, along with other regional journalists, were kept waiting while David Cameron took questions from workers at Eon about the energy industry.

Then, despite being promised interview time afterwards, the reporters were left hanging as the PM was ushered back to his car, with his spokespeople telling them he did not have time to speak to them.

Les took to Twitter to vent his frustration saying it was the first time he could recall local media being denied access on such a visit.

“The questions from the Eon staff were about the nuances of the energy industry and the press the industry gets – there were very few about the issues on people’s minds at the moment,” he told HTFP.

“I had planned to ask him about the welfare reforms and the high unemployment in the West Midlands, and the bedroom tax – especially as there was a protest about that in the city centre that day.

“I have been a journalist for 20 years and I cannot remember and Prime Minister or cabinet member not being available to take any questions from the local paper before.

“I think local papers should be given the same treatment as the national media – they are important and need to have their say.”

Earlier in the day, Cameron had visited the Rolls Royce factory in Derby, where he did spoke to local reporters including Derby Telegraph business editor Robin Johnson about issues including the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ and the Philpott case.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s Office told HTFP that they had hoped Mr Cameron would be able to speak to local media in Coventry after the Eon visit, but they simply ran out of time.

“We like to take these opportunities to do as much local media as we can, but we ended up fighting for time.  It’s unfortunate but could not be avoided,” she said.

 

 

 

2 comments

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  • April 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm
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    The answer’s rather simple: the next time there’s a General Election just tell Cameron’s candidates you are too busy to talk to them. You might also try it on Miliband’s and Clegg’s lot, too, if their leaders can’t be bothered to talk either.

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  • April 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm
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    As a former PR Officer himself, Mr Cameron should have known better. He should try employing experienced hacks in his Press Office who know what their local and regional colleagues need! I have never had this nonsense from any other leading politician or business leader that I have interviewed.

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