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Chris Galley

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Friday 12 May – The May Battle Bus

At an unearthly hour last night, Conservative activists got a vague email inviting us to see the Prime Minister on a visit to “the Berwick upon Tweed constituency”, which is just to the north of Wansbeck. Since this is one of England’s largest constituencies this didn’t give much in terms of precision. This morning, all was revealed: at the Eshott aerodrome, about 5 miles north of Wansbeck, Theresa May would be taking ownership of her new election battle bus.

As you can see, security was tight, with fierce sniffer dogs on patrol.

Ferocious police dog

Ferocious police dog

And then we got to see the very smart bus parked outside one of the hangars.

IMAG3045

We took the opportunity to get some snaps of the Wansbeck team while we were waiting – there was plenty of that incidentally. In the lower photo we are with the new Conservative leader of Northumberland County Council, Peter Jackson.

IMAG3061The Prime Minister arrived, made a short speech, did some interviews in the hangar and then boarded the bus, before heading off to Newcastle. There are 8 very experienced drivers assigned to look after the bus over the next few weeks, so it looks like it will be well used.

Plenty of coverage in the local TV afterwards, as you would expect. I appeared on the main BBC Six o’clock news bulletin, a friend sent a text to say he had seen me there. Since I was on for less than a second, I sent a reply suggesting he must have had strong and stable eyesight to spot me.

The bit I liked most was a “vox pop” of passersby in Newbiggin. It looks like they were approached after Ian Lavery was filmed saying a few words, denying that Labour took the North East for granted. Well, the word on the street somewhat contradicted that, with a number of voters saying they were voting Conservative. Now for the benefit of anyone not from the area, Newbiggin is a part of the Wansbeck constituency where in the past no-one ¬†would dare to admit to voting Conservative, let alone on camera on the main local news broadcast. Times have changed.

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