A regional daily journalist who interviewed Theresa May yesterday has described the encounter as “three minutes of nothing”.
Sam Blackledge, chief reporter at the Plymouth Herald, met the Prime Minister, left, during a visit to his patch, but said he was left feeling “deflated” despite managing to raise all the points he wanted to with her.
Sam says he and his colleagues were left scratching their heads and wondering what the top line was when he returned to the office, adding that he “couldn’t be certain” as to whether he had interviewed Mrs May at all.
Wrote Sam: “Before 8.30am today, I had never interviewed a Prime Minister. Heading back to the office to transcribe my encounter with Theresa May at Plymouth’s fish market, I couldn’t be certain that had changed.”
Earlier this month, journalists from The Herald’s digital sister title Cornwall Live were barred from photographing or filming Mrs May during an election campaign visit to the Cornish town of Helston.
Sam went on to list the specific questions he had asked Mrs May, and the general responses he had received in reply.
He continued: “I was pleased to have secured the interview and happy to have squeezed all my points in. But no sooner had the ministerial car pulled away from Sutton Harbour than I began to feel a bit deflated.
“If the ultimate job of a journalist is to get answers, I had failed. Should I have stopped her and demanded she be more specific? Could I have gone full angry Paxman, or brought the interview to an abrupt close in protest?
“Last time the PM was in the South West, a group of Cornish journalists were shut in a room and prevented from filming or photographing her.
“At the time it was seen as an embarrassing PR gaffe – but it meant that this morning we were overjoyed to simply be allowed proper access and happy to play along.
“Back at the office, we scratched our heads and wondered what the top line was. She had and given me absolutely nothing. It was like a postmodern version of Radio 4’s Just A Minute.”
HTFP has asked the Conservative Party for a comment.