There’s nothing more traditionally British on a visit to the seaside than eating chips in the open air, but during a campaign visit to Cornwall on Tuesday Theresa May looked distinctly uncomfortable while tucking into a cone of them.
Pictured on a walkabout in Mevagissey, May looked for all the world like she had never eaten chips before – or at least not without a knife and fork.
May was visiting the St Austell and Newquay constituency that the Conservative Steve Double took from the Liberal Democrats in the 2015 election, one of a number of seats in the south-west where the Tories ousted their coalition partners.
Over the weekend May was criticised for her robotic and awkward performances on the Andrew Marr Show and Peston on Sunday, and these pictures will do little to dispel the feeling that May can be ill-at-ease at public events. One theory that has emerged, however, is that May look awkward faced with an unexpected carbohydrate intake - she has previously revealed she has type 1 diabetes.
Twitter users were quick to mock the pictures.
The moment May lost the election, it will be reported, was when her face announced to the British people that she didn't really like chips. https://t.co/qfPhXzRYXy— Michael Sellars (@Michael_Sellars) May 2, 2017
Looks like Theresa May got a cone of chips, but no fish, no pasty. You're in Cornwall. For the love of god! pic.twitter.com/gmMNJMN6xi— Josh Barrie (@joshbythesea) May 2, 2017
how does Theresa May manage to look so constantly annoyed, I mean she's eating chips there, chips are happy food, come on pic.twitter.com/7S7y9rkq3h— Marie Le Conte (@youngvulgarian) May 2, 2017
May’s campaign has repeatedly been criticised for keeping her away from the general public. Local people were excluded from campaign speech in Leeds, and there were accusations that she was “hiding” while campaigning in Scotland when she held a rally in a tiny community hall in Aberdeenshire with such poor phone reception that live coverage of the event was impossible.
On Wednesday the May campaign banned Cornwall’s biggest news website from filming a visit to a factory. Jacqui Merrington, digital editor of Cornwall Live, said: “A number of us have had an experience with David Cameron and Tony Blair [visiting] – this was much more restricted than we have seen in the past.”
Eating during a general election campaign can be a minefield for party leaders. A photograph of Ed Miliband attempting to eat a bacon sandwich became one of the iconic images of opposition to the then Labour leader during the 2015 election campaign, making the front page of the Sun the day before the vote.