Election gaffes and howlers

There’s less than two months until the UK electorate heads to the polls, so the pressure is on for our MPs.

For some reason, there is nothing like a bit of pressure to make MPs do the craziest things.prescott

An election gets them so fired up that logic goes out of the window. They forget things, find themselves fending off angry members of the public and making incredible gaffes, which will be remembered for years to come. It’s the kind of stuff that must see their dismayed PR staff ending the day with their heads in their hands.

The last election in 2015 saw plenty of PR blunders. Who can forget Harriet Harman’s pink 17-seater mini bus? It was aimed at drawing in women to talk about serious issues like childcare and domestic violence, but it looked like the love child of Barbie’s convertible and Sheila’s Wheels.

UKIP’s Kim Rose was investigated for bribing voters with sausage rolls and how can we forget the Tory MP called Name Surname? It was actually East Ham hopeful Samir Jassal whose name was missed off the campaign leaflet with the slogan ‘Vote Name Surname on 7th May’.

Surely the prize for best PR person goes to Gawain Towler, who actually saved one of his Ukip candidates by hauling him off the beach in Margate. Yep, in 2015 Sam Gould had decided to write “We Love Nige” in the sand but misjudged the tide and found himself trapped.

Over the years there have been some incredible pre-election PR disasters. Here are some of our favourites:

  • The 2001 election saw gaffes galore, and it was Labour that ended up with egg on their face – literally. John Prescott became known as ‘Two Jabs’ after he punched a protestor who egged him during the infamous brawl.
  • Who can forget when Gordon Brown forgot to turn his mic off and was recorded calling a member of the public a “bigoted woman” in 2010.
  • BBC documentary, Meet The Ukippers was a PR disaster for Ukip in 2015, especially when one of their councillors declared she didn’t like ‘people with negroid features’ and another was filmed discussing their National Front past.
  • Also in 2015, the Tories did their best to convince the electorate they don’t just listen to the rich and powerful by hosting a £15,000-a-table fundraising ball where one ‘lucky’ winner bagged a shoe shopping trip with Theresa May for £17,500.
  • Back to the 2001 election and Home Secretary Jack Straw was heckled and slow clapped as he addressed more than 1,000 police officers at their annual conference in Blackpool. It is the stuff of nightmares.