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The Week in Numbers

The week that was

One of the monthly preoccupations of Theresa May’s spokespeople since her ascendance to the premiership has been to categorically deny suggestions that she may go to the polls before 2020. So, it came as something of a surprise to politicos emerging bleary-eyed from the Easter recess to find out that this is exactly what she plans to do. While May was remonstrated for her U-turn by many in the opposition parties, a motion to approve the vote was nearly unanimously backed by MPs on Wednesday and assuming the Queen gives her the go-ahead, the country will go to the polls on June 8th.

Jeremy Corbyn launched his campaign yesterday, and while his left-wing populism may do little to endear the middle England voters he so desperately needs on side, commentators, including The Times’ Patrick Kidd, praised the embattled leader for the passion with which he delivered his opening salvo.

UKIP continue their downward slide this week when Douglas Carswell decided he will quit as an MP. Arron Banks has repeatedly threatened to run for the Clacton seat but his chances may have been dashed by his admission that he knows nothing about the place. Nigel Farage, perhaps sniffing a sinking ship, declared last night that he would not be running.

On the benches

I like Corbyn but…
In an attempt to counter many of the public’s concerns regarding Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister, a website set up by Labour volunteers called ‘I Like Corbyn But…’ has been doing the rounds. The website lists peoples’ concerns over Corbyn,  such as ‘Isn’t he a socialist?’ and ‘Is he electable?’, and provides responses defending the Labour leader. One of the concerns raised on the website was ‘I’ve heard he’s a terrorist sympathiser’ which was then ‘answered’ with two paragraphs which don’t actually say that Corbyn didn’t sympathise with terrorists. Instead it merely noted that he sees war as a ‘last resort’, which is not a particularly compelling denial…

A right dog’s Brexit  
Old school Labour man Ian Lavery MP launched Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign this week. However he made a bit of a dog’s breakfast of his opening salvo about Brexit making the classic error of referring to Brexit as the most important meal of the day; breakfast. Lavery saved himself some embarrassment however ad libbing ‘sausage bacon eggs…working class food’. We’ll let you off with this one Mr. Lavery.

Text from the top
Those in the Westminster bubble were waiting with baited breath as to what Theresa May would announce on Tuesday morning. With no confirmation from the No. 10 press machine, the rumour mill inevitably went into overdrive with Adam Boulton going as far as speculating that May could in fact be stepping down due to ill health. This particular rumour clearly irked Fiona Hill, Theresa May’s joint Chief of Staff who texted Sky’s Adam Bolton that she would be making a complaint to the press watchdog about the speculation. Bolton however turned the situation to his advantage however by simply reading out Hill’s message live on air thus confirming that particular story wasn’t true…

Good week/Bad week

Good week for: John Curtice. The University of Strathclyde Professor and elections expert will be counting down the days to another election night broadcast. Professor Curtice has rarely been off our screens since this week’s unexpected election announcement, taking only 12 minutes from Theresa May calling for an early election at 11:05 to appear on the BBC at 11:17. The @JohnCurticeOnTV twitter account has been set up to inform the political Twittersphere of his appearances.

Bad week for: Brenda from Bristol. Brenda from Bristol may have been the true voice for the nation this week when on the news of an early election she replied ‘not another one… I can’t stand this… there’s too much politics going on at the moment. Why does she need to do it?’, a view shared by those who do not want a third national vote in as many years. After achieving viral internet fame, she later told the BBC she ‘doesn’t even know what trending on Twitter means’ because she doesn’t own a computer. Don’t worry Brenda, only 48 days of the campaign left.

Tweet of the Week

During the furious guessing game before Theresa May’s announcement on Tuesday, the reveal of the lectern without the Downing Street crest led journalist Jamie Ross to the following conclusion…

In focus: May moves to strengthen her hand

The PM’s announcement was totally at odds with all her previous statements, stretching back to the moment she became Conservative Party leader in July last year, in which she had steadfastly ruled out an early poll. That position was genuinely held.

But in recent weeks the Prime Minister and her closest advisers calculated that conditions had changed and that now was the moment to act on the political advantage she holds.

Fundamentally, they worried that the Government’s small Commons majority was insufficient to guarantee the passage of legislation required by Brexit, and could serve to undermine Britain’s position in negotiations with the EU.

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