Tory bi-election candidate Maria Hutchings has credited comedians like John O'Farrell and Beppe Grillo for the confusion in voters' minds as to who is running for election and who is doing a standup act.
She has revealed that her speeches have suddenly become popular with young people who have been led to believe that it is she and not O'Farrell who is in the comedy business.
She is pleased with the reception to one of her campaign speeches from a largely student audience last night. “When I told them about my son needing a private school, there was an explosion of laughter and clapping throughout the hall”, she said. “I'd like to see any of my rivals get a reaction like that”.
Her campaign team are quietly pleased with this development. “She's drawing in the youth vote left, right and centre”, said one of them. “I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that this misconception lasts until Thursday”.
Meanwhile the Eastleigh College student newspaper has published a glowing review of one of her speeches. It described her patter on the “modern, compassionate Conservative party” as “a masterpiece of surreal, deadpan comedy".