As the bank holiday weekend finally arrived, following a fraught week of worrying about Syria, Russia and Boris Johnson, Gibraltar and Donald Tusk, French elections, German explosions and Donald Trump’s mother of all foreign policy U-turns, any prime minister could be forgiven for yearning for a sofa, a gin and tonic and a box set.
Instead Theresa May strode out in walking boots, waterproof jacket and George Osborne-style hi-vis vest in her Maidenhead constituency to direct a rhinoceros to turn right. The animal was one of more than 1,000 runners in the annual Maidenhead Easter 10 charity race, a 10-mile course through country lanes, pavements and cycle lanes which May has been helping to marshal for years.Despite her elevation to home secretary in 2010, and becoming the second female prime minister six years later, May has remained a familiar figure at events in the constituency where she first won in 1997 and has since doubled her majority. She likes to do her shopping at Waitrose in Twyford, and will undoubtedly be out knocking on doors canvassing in the run-up to the local elections.
Her predecessors in office – with the notable exception of Gordon Brown, once memorably photographed on a beach in suit and tie – would usually have been on a plane to somewhere warmer by now, but May has already taken her Easter holiday, five days walking in Wales with her husband, Philip, where she bought a silver ring for £32 from a craft shop. She told Wales Online they avoid discussing politics while walking, for fear of losing their concentration and falling over.Last year’s race was won in a time of 56 minutes and 26 seconds, but this year May’s higher public profile has put some of the runners off breaking any personal best times, as they swerved from the track and crowded up to her for selfies. The rhino, however, paid her no attention, just following the pointing hand and lumbering on.we’ve got a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever, but far fewer are paying for it.
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