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Voters play Theresa May slogan bingo as election fever grips Tory HQ


LONDON, MAY 02, (DNA) – Challenged about robotic slogans that are already dominating the narrative of the 2017 general election, Theresa May replied apparently without irony, that she wanted to talk about “strong and stable leadership”.

On social media, the remark warranted a tick in so-called election bingo as political enthusiasts joked about how many times the prime minister would roll out the same stock phrases.

Senior Conservative figures argued that the messaging was part of a “ruthlessly disciplined” campaign in which they were uninterested in the musings of the Westminster bubble and simply determined to hammer the message through to voters.

Internal polling had delivered one key lesson: that May’s personal ratings were well ahead of the party and that an intensive six-week campaign had to be centered on her.

One source said while the Tory leader enjoyed campaigning she was less keen on the personal nature of the strategy, but had been convinced that it offered the best chance of victory.

In Westminster, the Conservative party has been rapidly drawing together advisers from No 10 and government departments into what is known as CCHQ: the party’s control centre.

The ground floor consists of an open room with one corner office for the Conservative chair, Patrick McLoughlin, and an open space in which most of the team are asked to hot desk.

A central pod is reserved for key figures such as Sir Lynton Crosby (who has yet to properly decamp), deputy chair Stephen Gilbert and May’s joint chief of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.

The room is staffed from early morning until late at night, with a breakfast of cereal, muffins and croissants served each day and a hot meal brought in for dinner. At one side is the Thatcher room, which sources say is used for key meetings. A basement floor is available for phone-banking.

Even some of the most key advisers based there, with critical logistical roles over the next two months, were given just hours’ notice of the snap general election.

They described how May had been able to quickly gear up for the polls by pulling together the infrastructure and individuals who drove her predecessor, David Cameron, to success in 2015.

Crosby has been joined again by close colleague Mark Textor and Barack Obama’s former deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina.=DNA


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