In Brief

Theresa May and seven other 'awkward' school photo ops

Prime Minister 'winced her way through' primary school visit and 'visibly squirmed' when asked about NHS

The Tories are hoping to steal a shock victory over Labour in the Copeland by-election on 23 February, but Theresa May's "awkward" whistle-stop tour of the Cumbrian constituency has not done anything to improve Conservative candidate Trudy Harrison's chances.

The Prime Minister "winced her way through a perfectly pleasant visit to a primary school to talk to Year Six pupils about a Lego competition", says The Independent.

One unfortunate snap, showing her apparently grimacing at a pupil during the trip to Captain Shaw's Primary School in Bootle, turned out to be symbolic of an "awkward day", says Sky News chief political correspondent Jon Craig.

May was also "visibly squirming" when questioned about the proposed closure of maternity services at the nearby West Cumberland Hospital, he adds.

Despite being asked four times if she supported the move, the Prime Minister refused to give an opinion, leading Lib Dem Tim Farron to accuse her of resorting to "weasel words".

All in all, it was not exactly a tub-thumping campaign stop. But May can take comfort in the fact she's far from the first politician to look out of their element on a school visit.

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