Tories try to contrast the PM and the Labour leader, who she claims would go ‘alone and naked’ into Brexit negotiations.
Theresa May set the tone for the final phase of the general election campaign with her strongest personal attack on Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday, claiming the Labour leader’s performance in the previous night’s live TV debate showed he would be “naked in the negotiating chamber” when Brexit talks start next month.
The outspoken remarks represent an attempt by Conservative strategists to refocus the prime minister’s message on a direct comparison between herself and the Labour leader – as the party seeks to shore up its opinion poll lead with little more than a week before voters go to the ballot box.
In a speech to party activists and journalists in Wolverhampton, May launched a series of strongly worded attacks on Corbyn’s character and leadership style.
She said Monday’s television debate – in which the two leaders faced questions from a live audience and from Jeremy Paxman on Channel 4 and Sky News – had revealed Corbyn as unfit to lead Britain through the tough talks ahead.
“Jeremy Corbyn’s minders can put him into a smart blue suit for an interview with Jeremy Paxman – but with his position on Brexit, he will find himself alone and naked in the negotiating chamber of the European Union,” she said.
As the audience of Tory activists laughed awkwardly, she added: “Now I know that’s an image that doesn’t bear thinking about. But actually this is very serious.
“With the Brexit negotiations due to begin just 11 days after polling day, he is not prepared for those negotiations – but I am prepared.