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Election latest: Farage asked about Tory speculation – and ‘his silence is telling’

Week four of the general election campaign began with Grant Shapps being interviewed on Sky News and other broadcasters. 

No surprise there.

Like Jude Bellingham in Gareth Southgate’s England squad in the Euros, Mr Shapps is one of the first names on Rishi Sunak’s election team sheet for broadcast interviews.

A league table of interviews on Sky News in the campaign so far reveals the defence secretary is one of the top three cabinet ministers leading the Conservatives’ TV attack against Labour.

Not surprisingly, Sunak ultra-loyalist Mel Stride, the work and pensions secretary, tops our league table with five interviews, with Home Secretary James Cleverly also on four.

Another Sunak ultra-loyalist, Transport Secretary Mark Harper, is just behind the top three, with a trio of Sky News interviews, including Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips at the weekend.

The Sky News league table is likely to be similar to those for other broadcasters and therefore a good indication of the overall totals of interviews by top politicians during the election campaign.


What about Labour?

Top of Labour’s Sky News interviews league table is tough-tackling Jonathan Ashworth, with eight, followed by shadow health secretary Wes Streeting – who also appeared on Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips at the weekend – on seven.

This pair, clearly regarded by Labour’s high command as the party’s top media performers, have also been the most prominent shadow cabinet members in the spin rooms after TV debates, often taking part in lively arguments with Tory opponents.


A game of two halves

Politics, like football is of course often a game of two halves. With just 17 days of the six-week campaign left, this election could now be said to be moving from the group stages to the knockout stage.

In an outspoken comment on political leaders, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville famously declared Southgate is “everything a leader should be: respectful, humble, tells the truth, genuine”.

So as the Euros coincide with the election campaign during the second half of June, who will be a winner in July? Gareth Southgate, Rishi Sunak or Sir Keir Starmer?

Read Nore:Election latest: Farage asked about Tory speculation – and ‘his silence is telling’