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Election latest: Sunak not taking questions amid talk of Tory battle to succeed him – as

Analysis: Sunak struggles to change the weather after unstable opening fortnight of campaign

Question. If a prime minister is heckled at a rally and there’s no backdrop scandal to imbue it with meaning, should it still end up on the news?

I ask because so often in election campaigns, individual and often innocuous events get sucked into the black hole of a political narrative and spat out as something very different and much more dangerous.

Exhibit A – the torrid two days Rishi Sunak has had after his early departure from the D-Day commemorations.

Such was the scale of this saga that even a solitary road sign in rural Gloucestershire was transformed into a symbol of the hapless Tory campaign stumbling from one PR disaster to another – simply because it read “Veterans Way” and happened to be next to a school the prime minister was visiting.

A GP with gripes about the widening of access to medical care topped off the party’s hell day after she interrupted Mr Sunak at a rally in Wiltshire.

This was inevitably seen as another blow for the embattled campaign, despite the prime minister giving a fairly convincing defence of his policy.

You wonder how such a situation would have been received had it happened to Sir Keir Starmer – the drama potentially diluted by his huge lead in the polls and polished campaign machine.

None of this is to deny the importance of the D-Day story.

As one pollster put it, the debacle seemed almost “laser guided” to inflict the maximum amount of damage on a leader leaking votes to the right and facing frequent accusations of being out of touch.

That was certainly evident in Bishop Auckland on Saturday.

The Tories took this seat for the first time ever in 2019, but metres from a Conservative campaign stop one former candidate for the party told Sky News he could “never vote for that man” after events of the past two days.

“He’s leading them off the cliff like rats following the Pied Piper,” he said.

So how can Rishi Sunak change the weather?

Read Rob’s full analysis below… 

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