“Evasive” Theresa May dodged almost 75% of questions during 2017 General Election campaign

Theresa May dodged almost 75 per cent of questions in broadcast interviews during the 2017 General Election campaign, researchers have claimed.

May scooped the mantle for the most evasive Tory leader in decades after a team from the University of York found she answered just 27 per cent of questions in four broadcast interviews.

This was similar to the figure from two interviews Mrs May conducted just after she became prime minister in 2016.

By contrast, her predecessor David Cameron answered 34 per cent of questions during the 2015 general election.

And John Major and Margaret Thatcher both answered 39 per cent of questions in the 1992 and 1987 general elections, respectively.

The researchers claimed Mrs May was even more evasive during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

During 23 sessions of PMQs in 2016 and 2017, Mrs May answered only 11 per cent of questions from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Cameron answered 21 per cent of questions from Mr Corbyn during 20 sessions of PMQs in the previous year.

Professor Peter Bull, from the University of York’s department of psychology, said: “Theresa May’s techniques of evasion are covert.

“Of particular interest are her distinctive techniques of ignoring awkward questions, without even acknowledging that a question has been asked, which accounts for 43 per cent of her evasive responses.

“She also responds to her own modified versions of questions, not to the version that was originally posed – 26 per cent of her evasive responses are of this kind.”

Professor Bull also suggested Mrs May’s evasiveness when responding to questions could cause a lack of trust among voters.

He added: “If Theresa May fails to answer questions, or even to acknowledge that she is not answering questions, to what extent can she be believed?

“The consequent decline in her political credibility and authority has arguably played an important ongoing role in the current Brexit crisis.”

Mrs May’s official spokesman said: “The prime minister has spent very significant amounts of time in the House of Commons, not just at Prime Minister’s Questions but throughout the Brexit process, answering the questions of MPs.”

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