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Why has the PM proposed such an 'un-Tory' energy policy?

One thing that strikes me about Theresa May's announcement that she'll cap energy tariffs is that she's playing to the crowd.

It was very popular (among voters) when Ed Miliband proposed a similar idea in 2013 and was in fact one of Labour's stand out policies in their manifesto in 2015.

The Conservatives of course panned it, calling it dangerous and from a Marxist universe (see the video above). And energy companies too laid out how it will stamp out competition and raise prices in the long term. There was huge criticism.

None of that criticism has gone away today, except that it is now the Conservatives getting the flack for proposing it.

Theresa May is calling for a cap four years after Ed Miliband was condemned for the 'anti-market rules' intervention. Credit: PA

It's not the same as the Labour policy they say, because Ofgem will set the cap not politicians.

But you can't argue away the fact that the Tories are proposing intervention in the market - something that doesn't follow traditional free market Conservative instincts.

So why do it? Especially when it's so widely known that many within Mrs May's own party aren't comfortable with the idea.

Theresa May will wait to hear how her party's apparent u-turn will be received by voters. Credit: PA

The answer I suspect is two fold. Firstly, because it's a vote winner. An obvious point, but an important one in the run up to an election.

Theresa May has always said she wants to help those who are struggling to get by - this is a perfect policy she can point to and say 'look, I am helping you' (whether it really will bring energy costs down for them or not is another matter altogether).

And secondly? Because she wants to show the country she's a different sort of Conservative. A Red Tory maybe? Or simply one that is not afraid to intervene when things aren't working as she thinks they should.

It will be interesting to see how it plays with the voters.