PM sticks to script as Boris Johnson enters election fray

Boris Johnson Image copyright PA

Presenter: "Do you know what a mugwump is?"

Theresa May: "What I recognise is that what we need in this country is strong and stable leadership."

It's probably fair to say that this is not the stuff of epic election moments - those times that have shaped all our destinies; moments when the country asks itself, truly, who governs?; days when suddenly, a leader, a party's fate is decided.

Theresa May, it's also probably fair to assume, did not dream of that question being put to her, nor of having to provide an answer, and, slightly robotically, grimly stick to her prepared script come hell or high water, rather than echo the colourful copy of her foreign secretary.

Nor perhaps, was Boris Johnson's first big day out on the campaign trail designed to land the prime minister with questions tonight about her intentions for Syria.

Would she just do Donald Trump's bidding if asked to help in another attack? Hypothetical questions she resolutely refused to answer at a rally of the party faithful in Yorkshire.

Yet few in Tory HQ will be weeping at the product of Boris Johnson's arrival in this campaign, whether it is his Victorian insult hurled at Jeremy Corbyn, which will have upset some voters, (we heard that sentiment that the Tories were "bullying" Mr Corbyn on the trail in Essex), nor his admission that it would be "very difficult" for the UK to refuse Donald Trump.

Whether it was the accidental or deliberate howls of not one, but two dead cats today, the foreign secretary's productive morning attracted yet more attention to one of the issues the Conservatives believe is most dangerous for Jeremy Corbyn.

His attitudes towards security and defence, long held, and central to his core supporters, are, the Tories believe, one of his greatest vulnerabilities in this campaign. For floating voters, or many traditional Labour voters, the Tories will have been only too glad to create as much noise as they can.

More on this story