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As Euros get under way, who’s top of Sky News’ interviews league in general election campaign so far? | Politics News

Week four of the general election campaign began with Grant Shapps being interviewed on Sky News and other broadcasters. No surprise there.

Like Jude Bellingham in Gareth Southgate’s England squad in the Euros, Mr Shapps is one of the first names on Rishi Sunak’s election team sheet for broadcast interviews.

Reliable, unflappable? Fighting his seventh election campaign, he’s an experienced member of the Tory team. “I accept the polls,” he told Kay Burley on Breakfast. “I’m a realist.”

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A league table of interviews on Sky News in the campaign so far reveals the defence secretary is one of the top three cabinet ministers leading the Conservatives’ TV attack against Labour.

Not surprisingly, Sunak ultra-loyalist Mel Stride, the work and pensions secretary, tops our league table with five interviews, with home secretary James Cleverly also on four.

Another Sunak ultra-loyalist, transport secretary Mark Harper, is just behind the top three, with a trio of Sky News interviews, including Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips at the weekend.

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The Sky News league table is likely to be similar to those for other broadcasters and therefore a good indication of the overall totals of interviews by top politicians during the election campaign.

That’s because cabinet and shadow cabinet members often take part in a “broadcast round” of interviews on most TV channels and radio stations, usually at breakfast time and in the early evening.

Health secretary Victoria Atkins and veterans minister Johnny Mercer have done two interviews each on Sky News, but both have also been spin room stalwarts in TV debates and events.

Mr Cleverly also led the line for the Conservatives in the spin room at the Sky News leaders’ event, The Battle for Number 10, in Grimsby last week, in which a snap poll suggested Sir Keir Starmer won by 64% to 36% for Rishi Sunak.

Top of Labour’s Sky News interviews league table is tough-tackling Jonathan Ashworth, with eight, followed by shadow health secretary Wes Streeting – who also appeared on Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips at the weekend – on seven.

This pair, clearly regarded by Labour’s high command as the party’s top media performers, have also been the most prominent shadow cabinet members in the spin rooms, often taking part in lively debates with Tory opponents.

As for the Tory cabinet ministers who’ve yet to come off the bench and be interviewed on Sky News during the campaign, the big surprise is Oliver Dowden, the deputy prime minister. He hasn’t featured in a TV debate either.

Another close Sunak ally, Mr Dowden hasn’t taken on the Conservatives’ opponents in the spin rooms at the TV debates or events so far, either. Like the omitted Jack Grealish in the Euros, he’s the invisible man of the Tory campaign.

Although Penny Mordaunt hasn’t been interviewed by Sky News either, she has been prominent in two high-profile TV debates, in which she has been involved in fiery clashes with Labour’s Angela Rayner on tax policy.

Another top Tory yet to get on the Sky News interview scoresheet is party chairman Richard Holden, silent since a broadcast pool clip in which he refused to answer questions about his controversial selection as a candidate in Basildon and Billericay.

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Mr Shapps is one of the first names on Rishi Sunak’s election team sheet for broadcast interviews.

Despite the Conservatives’ relentless onslaught on Labour on tax, Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, has only been interviewed once on Sky News during the campaign.

His number two, Treasury chief secretary Laura Trott, however, has also been interviewed once by Sky News, but has been a spin room regular, as well as leading the Tories’ attacks on Labour’s tax plans.

Read more from Sky News:
Manifesto checker: What the parties are promising
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For Labour, after Mr Ashworth and Mr Streeting, shadow chief secretary Darren Jones and shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds have each appeared on Sky News five times during the election campaign.

Despite energy policy being a big campaign issue, Ed Miliband has yet to be interviewed by Sky News during the campaign. Party chair Anneliese Dodds has yet to get off the mark on Sky News too.

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Politics, like football is of course often a game of two halves. With just 17 days of the six-week campaign left, this election could now be said to be moving from the group stages to the knockout stage.

In an outspoken comment on political leaders, SkySports pundit Gary Neville famously declared that Gareth Southgate is “everything a leader should be: respectful, humble, tells the truth, genuine”.

So as the Euros coincide with the election campaign during the second half of June, who will be a winner in July? Gareth Southgate, Rishi Sunak or Sir Keir Starmer?

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