Tory candidates forced to have Theresa May's name on their election billboards
Tory candidates are being ordered to have Theresa May's name on their election billboards.
The would-be MPs have been given only one design for the boards, which are put in the gardens of Conservative supporters.
Below the candidate's name, it says: "Standing with Theresa May."
The word 'Conservatives' is in smaller writing in the bottom right hand corner of the billboards.
One candidate said: "We're usually given a selection of designs, but this time central office is only giving us one. They obviously want the election all about who should be Prime Minister."
The move is a clear sign of Tory bosses' confidence that Mrs May is a huge vote-winner in the upcoming election.
Opinion polls consistently show her as more popular than her party - and well ahead of Jeremy Corbyn as a potential Prime Minister.
Conservative strategists believe the party leader's personal ratings are also a major advantage as they try to make gains in traditionally Labour areas.
Mrs May has made "strong and stable leadership" the centrepiece of her campaign message, and has called on voters to give her a personal mandate to lead the Brexit negotiations.
Speaking to the BBC, she said: "What is important is that there is a key question for people when they come to this election. We've seen from all of this that these negotiations at times will be tough. Getting the right deal requires the right leadership. And there's only going to be one of two people sitting around that table.
"The 27 other EU countries on one side of the table and who is going to be there standing up for the UK? It's either going to be me or Jeremy Corbyn."
However, her predecessor as Tory leader demonstrated the pitfalls of tying his own image to that of the party.
In the Ealing Southall by-election in 2007, Tory candidate Tony Lit appeared on the ballot paper as representing 'David Cameron's Conservatives'.
However, Labour held onto the seat with a 5,000-vote majority and the Conservatives were beaten into third place.