Theresa May will not take part in TV debates ahead of the planned general election, she has told the BBC.

The British prime minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today she preferred “to get out and about and meet voters”.

Twenty-four hours after announcing a spring election no one saw coming, Theresa May finds herself in the eye of a storm that could have been avoided. The British prime minister announced Wednesday she plans to skip any live televised debates ahead of the June 8 vote.

Opposition parties have seized on it as the first major fumble of the campaign.

“We won’t be doing the television debates,” May, the Conservative leader, said matter-of-factly in a live BBC morning radio interview. “I believe in campaigns where politicians actually get out and about and meet the voters. It’s what I’ve always believed in, it’s what I still believe in and I still do it.”

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, dared broadcasters to hold debates with an empty chair on stage.