Maria Hutchings, Eastleigh Conservative candidate, plays hide and seek with the media

Norman LamontOne of my favourite moments from the 1997 general election campaign came when I was stood on a street corner in Harrogate, talking to a report about the challenge from Lib Dem candidate Phil Willis, who was trying to take the seat from the Conservatives. Suddenly, the journalist looked over my shoulder, muttered ‘excuse me’ and ran off down the street, partially dignified, chasing a van that had driven past behind me.

The reason? The van was that of the Conservative candidate, Norman Lamont, who had been spending the whole campaign trying to avoid talking to the press. The result? Much of the press coverage was dominated by stories of journalists trying to track him down around the constituency.

At least he had the excuse of having been Chancellor in a recession and then sacked by the Prime Minister. Some track record to try to avoid talking about.

Which means it says an awful lot about how much controversy Maria Hutchings, the 10-week abortion limit, come out of Europe, anti-equal marriage, don’t care about refugees Conservative candidate, has already accumulated such that she and her minders are now too playing the Norman Lamont game of hide and seek with the press.

And not just with the Jeremy Paxman and Michael Crick school of fierce interrogators but also from the mild-mannered and fair interviewer Norman Smith. Witness Sunday’s The World This Weekend report:

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

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